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Verna Montessori School near Mt. Pleasant to hold 20th annual Walk-A-Thon

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 8:30 p.m.

For 20 years, the children, faculty and parents at Verna Montessori School in Bullskin have come together to raise money through the school's annual Walk-A-Thon.

They gain so much more than money.

“The Walk-A-Thon is a fundraiser for the school but it serves a much greater global purpose. The event fosters fellowship and community spirit as children, staff and parents walk together,” said Sister M. Letizia Tribuzio, the school's principal. “The children have an opportunity to exercise responsibility by trying to obtain sponsorship for each lap that they walk to show their love for the school.”

This year's event will be held on May 17 with a rain day of May 24.

The children are collecting pledges now for each lap they make on the course. The course is less than a mile per lap for first- through eighth-graders and one-quarter mile per lap for the Children's House kindergarten and preschool students.

Each student who raises $100 or more will receive a prize packet, said Rhonda Gretz-Ward, president of the school's Parent's Auxiliary.

In addition, each participating student will receive a gift.

Gretz-Ward said parents have donated many items for the event to help reduce costs and volunteer parents will be on hand for safety as well as for distribution of refreshments and lunch.

“Our families have been very generous which helps to keep our expenses associated with this event very low. The majority of all money raised is profit,” she said.

According to Gretz-Ward, the event raises between $4,500 and $5,000 each year.

“All of the funds raised go back to the school for sporting equipment, classroom materials and other items that are needed,” she said.

In addition to walking, younger students will get to tackle an obstacle course while older students will participate in the school's version of the “Great Race,” where students will have a variety of tasks to complete.

Tribuzio said the students look forward to the year-end event which helps to celebrate their hard work and success achieved throughout the school year.

One of those students is Dylan Krett, 13, of Acme.

The seventh-grader has been participating in the event since he began attending the school in 2005.

“It's really just a fun event. We get to spend time outside walking while raising money at the same time. I think all the students enjoy it from Children's House on up. It's an enjoyable day with a good purpose behind it,” Krett said.

Those interested in donating to the school for the event are asked to call 724-887-8810.

Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.