BERLIN — Students at Worcester Prep got the chance to spend time outside last Friday while raising money for the renovation of the school’s dated multi-purpose room.
Students were able to participate in the first-ever Race for Excellence, which allowed kids in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade to walk, jog or sprint around a portion of the school’s campus.
The goal of the event was to raise donations to remodel Worcester Prep’s multi-purpose room, which was originally built in the 1970’s and currently serves as everything from a lunch room to a locker area as well as a meeting place for school events.
According to Headmaster Dr. Barry Tull, roughly 350 students participated in the race last Friday, raising around $23,000 from donations at last count, more than double the $10,000 goal.
Tull pointed out that the school relies heavily on parent, alumni and other donations since as a private school, Worcester Prep does not receive any type of public funding.
“We don’t get any tax money or money from federal or state,” he said.
Michelle Dashiell, a parent coordinator for Worcester Prep, revealed that donations have been pouring in from involved parties and alumni across the world. Students wrote and letters to family and friends seeking donations for their school.
“We’ve gotten money from Hawaii, from the Philippines,” she said.
Dashiell called the 1st Annual Race to Excellence an “inauguration” this year and an event that she hopes will become a mainstay at the school. She explained that when it came time to come up with a fundraiser for the multi-purpose room renovations, everyone agreed that it should be something that could involve students directly and give them a chance to play a part in improving their own school.
“It’s about ownership and pride in their school,” said Dashiell.
By conducting the event, she noted that students have the chance to exercise outdoors and interact with each other while raising money.
Gina Derrickson, the mother of a third grader at Worcester Prep, was on hand to watch the race and encourage her son.
“It’s healthy,” she said of the active fundraiser. “It’s everything you want a child to do.”
Derrickson added that she “absolutely loves the school,” and that enrolling her son at Worcester Prep was the best decision she can remember making. She also called the anticipated renovations of the aged multi-purpose room “necessary.”
Besides helping their school, kids were also running for the chance to win prizes, including an iPod Touch, Kindle Fire or Xbox 360 depending on grade level.
While Tull said that no hard fiscal goal for a new multi-purpose room has been formulated, he believes the money raised from the race will make a significant impact and expects Worcester Prep to continue seeking private donations for the project with future fundraisers.