GALION — The weather may have been warm and the sun bright on Thursday morning and into the afternoon but the focus was on “fun”draising in Heise Park.
Galion Elementary School students in grades Kindergarten through Fifth Grade flocked to the track to participate in the 2nd Annual Tiger Dash, hosted by the Galion Elementary Parent Teacher Organization. The pre-kindergarten kids participated at the school the day prior, earning their funds to contribute as well.
The students were given sponsor sheets and asked to collect donations, with a goal of $30 per student, from September 16th through October 2. In its second year, the Tiger Dash serves as the main fundraiser for the Elementary School students throughout the year, with 100% of the money raised going directly back to the schools.
“The Galion Elementary PTO Tiger Dash is a fitness and leadership event that highlights the focus of the “Leader In Me” Program at both the Primary and Intermediate buildings,” begins organization first-year president Jessica Price. “The students earn pledges for how many laps they can walk or run around the track. The great thing with our fundraiser is that we keep 100% of the profits! This is the main and only fundraiser we do to fund activities for the year. The PTO uses these funds to supply play ground equipment, fluoride supplies, reading counts prizes, assemblies and so much more! Because of the success of the Tiger Dash last year, we were able to award $4,200 in grants to our teachers for supplies and materials for their rooms!”
In addition to the kids running, the day began with a mascot race featuring Roary the Tiger, Ubie from United Bank, Curly from Dairy Queen, Buckle Bear from Galion City Health Department, Captain Crossroads from Crossroads Candles, Elroy the Elk from Galion Elks #1191, Bell from BellStores and Sparky the Dog from the Bucyrus Fire Department. Roary would finish the race as the first-ever Tiger Dash mascot race champion.
Running first on the day was the fifth grade class, which was followed by fourth, third and second graders. The kindergartners came to run through bubbles and dance along while hanging out with their friends before the first grade class wrapped the day of activities just before lunch time. Each class was given a 30 minute time to make their way around the track to earn their donations for the school to give right back into vital programming.
While the total figures raised for the second year have not yet been tallied, Price was optimistic in the fundraisers success for the 2019-2020 school year.
“It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work, but I’ve had a lot of helping hands along the way. Our entire board has put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into making all of this happen,” opens Price. “Last year we brought in about $20,000 and we’re looking at right around the same amount this year, if not a little more.”
Local business owners kindly donated funds to provide each student with a free t-shirt to wear during the Tiger Dash. The PTO had four different levels of sponsorship; platinum, silver, bronze and MVP.
Platinum sponsors included Avita Health System and Galion, LLC while BellStores served as a silver sponsor. Crossroads Candles, H.R. Wolf Hardware, Carter Electric, DK’s Ice Cream, Innovation Recycling and Kurtzman Portable Toilets were all mentioned as bronze sponsors for the event. Rounding out the sponsors for the Tiger Dash were the MVPs; United Bank, This, That and The Other and Hidden Treasures.