Later this week, the community will have an opportunity to support a local school while also honoring the city’s first responders for all their efforts to keep the city safe.

The Bel-Aire Elementary PTO will host its 12th annual walk-a-thon on Friday, Sept 14, at the school.

Throughout the day, students from each grade level will participate in the school’s main fundraiser for the year by walking during a scheduled time for each class.

The event is held during the school day so that every child may participate and is scheduled around Sept. 11 to commemorate the events of 9/11 and to honor local first responders. Local first responder units will also be on hand during opening ceremonies and to participate in the honorary first lap.

In 2017, 348 students walked 2,171 laps for a total of 542.75 miles.  According to school PTO member Kevin Kimberlin, the PTO surpassed its fundraising goal last year with the amount raised totaling over $33,000.

This  allowed the  PTO  to secure  items such as  headphones  for computer use, a  kiln for the  art  room, physical  education equipment, a  new sound system  for the  auditorium and many other items.

Over the last 12 years, the school’s PTO has raised over $250,000 through the walk-a-thon, thanks to local business sponsorships and student-collected donations.   

According to Kimberlin, this year, the PTO has set its fundraising goal for the walk-a-thon at $35,000. Those funds will be used to repair the walking track that is located in the back of the school.  The track is used for the events such as the walk-a-thon and for physical education classes and as a fitness destination for the surrounding community. 

Those wishing to donate can contact the school at 931-454-2610 or via email at belaireptowalkathon@gmail.com.

Kali Bradford can be reached by email at kbradford@tullahomanews.com.