Students dash off the starting line during the school’s annual PTA fundraiser. Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

For the past five years, students at Vaughn Elementary have celebrated the end of the school year by raising money with their feet.

The annual Walk-a-Vaughn is the PTA’s biggest fundraiser every year, according to event coordinator Joanna Babbitt.

Students solicit pledges from families, friends and local businesses, then they walk –– or run –– laps around the school play field.

“The kids raised almost $10,000 this year,” Babbitt said proudly.

The money supports the PTA’s activities such as popcorn days, family fun nights, field trips and other events and also supplements academic efforts.

Prizes are awarded for the top two fundraisers and to whoever shows the most school spirit.

“We’re known as the Vaughn Huskies, and every Thursday we have Vaughn Purple Day,” Babbitt said. “So for the Walk-a-Vaughn the kids are encouraged to wear their purple to show their school spirit.”

The field was awash with purple clothes, purple socks, even purple hair and the atmosphere is one of sheer enthusiasm and excitement, Babbitt added with a smile. “The kids are really motivated to run, to raise the money and to show their spirit.”

Prizes are donated by local businesses.

Eleven-year old Joey Cusick ran more than two miles during the Walk-a-Vaughn. Fellow student Paige Broadrick, 10, appreciated the fact that the weather was nice.

“It was windy, but it was good weather to run in,” she said, adding that she hoped to win one of the prizes.

For Madelyn Bjorn, 11, it was a chance to show her spirit and also to get out of math class. “I really like math but this is a lot more fun,” she said. “I get lots of high energy from it.”

Babbitt’s son, Sam, and Kayla Sabol were the top fundraisers, raising $700 each.

Principal Susan O’Leary noted that the Walk-a-Vaughn is very important to the school. “It’s a really festive day. Kids are all dressed up with school spirit. And without this, the PTA can’t support all the things that our school does like field trips and special events, assemblies and so forth,” she said.

O’Leary was quick to laud Joanne Babbitt’s efforts in organizing the event.

“She’s fantastic. She’s the one who gets all the donations for prizes and things. We just couldn’t do it without her,” she said.

O’Leary also noted that PE teacher Steve Hagen also plays an important role. “He helps with everything,” she said.

To make a donation to the Vaughn PTA, call the school at (253) 530-5700.