Unprecedented support

Posted on: Dec 6, 2017

Unprecedented support

Delano Elementary School conducted one of its most successful fundraisers ever during the second half of November.
 
While the final total had not yet been tallied at the start of December, preliminary indications were that the Apex Fun Run and Apex UNITED program had netted over $37,000 for the DES Partners In Education group. 
There was a good chance that total would increase, but even if it didn’t the number would still represent 115 percent of the school’s fundraising goal.
 
“That is probably the best we’ve ever done,” said Principal Darren Schuler. 
 
The Apex Fun Run is a nationwide program that focuses on character and fitness. The two-week program culminates in a fun run that was held in the Tiger Activity Center on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Before then, students raised money by obtaining pledges for the laps they would run. 
 
On race day students ran laps 1/16th of a mile in length while parent volunteers recorded their progress. Students were allowed to run a maximum of 36 laps.
 
“It’s just a fun event. The kids are really excited when they get down to the big TAC. They have inflatable tunnels to run through, and the kids really want to reach that 36-lap limit,” said Schuler. 
 
The four-person Apex team of “Nik Nak Nate,” “Two Step,” “Captain Jack” and “Squishy” will conduct fundraisers at about 48 schools this year, and “Delano will be one of the better schools we have” in terms of fundraising success, said Nik Nak.
 
Service to students
Last spring DES tried the Apex fundraiser for the first time at the recommendation of a former Delano administrator. This fall, the school was more familiar with the program and promoted it on a wider scale.
 
“It’s a really good message, and of course being active was something we really felt fits well with our values of being a healthy school, an active school,” said Schuler. 
 
After a pep rally to kick off the program on Nov. 15, the Apex team visited classrooms to share about the Apex UNITED message, with the acronym standing for “Unique, No Excuses, Inspire Others, Teachable, Empathize and Do Your Best.”
 
“Compared to other fundraisers I’ve been a part of, this provided a significant service to students through character building,” said Assistant Principal Greg Hinker. “That was a great addition and taught the kids some valuable lessons. So we weren’t just promoting food and begging for this, that and the other thing. It was a nice change.” 
 
Students also had the opportunity to win a wide range of prizes based on their pledges. The top prizes won by Delano students this year included aerial drones and a mini motorbike.
 
Why use Apex?
Even with the large amount of money raised, Schuler said some might question why the school uses an outside fundraising program rather than doing its own fundraising and keeping all the proceeds.
 
While the school could hold its own fundraisers, he explained that an outside program is more exciting for the students, helps teachers and staff to focus on their jobs rather than fundraising, and ultimately is more successful.
 
Hinker agreed.
 
“If we did it ourselves we would not be able to draw as sustained a level of interest as what they are able to get because they have a professionally planned, upbeat program,” Hinker said. “We could do something on our own, but I don’t think we would get nearly the amount of fundraising dollars.”
 
Use of the money
The funds raised go to the DES PIE group, which uses its money for things like technology upgrades, field trips and more. This fall previously raised PIE funds were used to construct a new playground structure for kindergarten students to alleviate overcrowding.
 
“All of the things the money goes toward are ultimately to impact the students,” said Schuler.
 
The Apex program is the only fundraiser the PIE group will hold this year.
 
“In Delano we’ve been pretty fortunate to usually just do one fundraiser sponsored by our PIE group a year,” said Schuler, explaining that two were done last year during the transition to Apex. “In general we just feel like we can meet our budgetary needs by having one. It looks like this program will kind of surpass our expectations in year two, so financially we’re doing pretty well.”