Sheldon Middle School Color Run 2019

Sheldon Middle School language arts teacher Katie Morris hits Owen Brouwer with a dusting of yellow powder during the school’s Color Run last month. The event acted as a fundraiser for the school, with students finding people and businesses in the community to sponsor their participation in the obstacle course.

SHELDON—Students at Sheldon Middle School added some color to fundraising.

The students collectively brought in about $30,900 in donations from the community to sponsor the school’s inaugural Color Run, which took place Friday, Sept. 27.

“They just so far surpassed our expectations,” said principal Cindy Barwick.

“We had hoped, ‘If we make $12,000, we’ll be fine.’ That’s really our budget, about $12,000 for the year, so they far surpassed that.”

During a 10-day fundraising period earlier in September, 227 of the 330 students at the school asked people and businesses in the community to sponsor their participation in the obstacle course-like Color Run.

Nine obstacles were set up around the middle school grounds that all of the students ran through the day of the event. While running the course, the students were hit with colorful powder that teachers, administrators and parent volunteers were armed with.

Barwick, who was among those trying to douse students with powder, said some of the students tried to avoid the powder while others welcomed the barrage.

“Just every kid had a smile on his face, and every teacher had a smile on her face and it was just a fun time,” Barwick said.

The event replaced a longtime magazine fundraiser the school used to hold every year to generate money. However, since profits from the magazine sales had been declining in recent years, the school decided a change was needed.

The idea for the Color Run originally was proposed by a former guidance counselor about five years ago when the school was brainstorming possible fundraiser options to replace the magazine sale. The administration kept the Color Run on the back burner until it was brought up last year.

After the school decided on doing the Color Run, it set four fundraising goals for students to reach to win additional rewards. The top fundraising goal was $20,000, which Barwick said earned the students a movie day scheduled for the day before winter break.

Other fundraising goals earned the students T-shirts for the Color Run, a “teacher torture” activity and a fun half day of school. The teacher torture event still is being developed, Barwick said, but will take place Dec. 4.

The money raised from the Color Run will fund field trips and activities at the middle school throughout the year, as well as planners the school provides for students.

“We go to the zoo, we do a trip to Camp Foster. We go to Arnolds Park with the fifth-graders,” Barwick said. “So any field trip that we would go on.”

Given the success of this year’s Color Run, the middle school will not need to fundraiser next year and will hold the Color Run every other year moving forward. Making it a biennial event also will make it a more exciting event for students in the future, Barwick said.