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WARRENSBURG β€” Morgan Jones would much rather walk laps to raise money than sell things to family and friends.

β€œNobody wants to buy cheese and sausage and chocolate,” said the Warrensburg-Latham Middle School eighth-grader.

The school's annual Run-a-Thon collects the money that pays for items and activities that aren't in the regular budget, said Principal Paul Hoffman, such as Chromebooks, field trips, equipment for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and classroom projects.

β€œA few years ago, we used to do the sales of different items for fundraising,” Hoffman said. β€œAnd we noticed that when you do that, the school only gets half the money. We wanted to make sure we were able to do a fundraiser that 100 percent of the money is going right to the schools.”

Students still solicit donations from family and friends, who can pledge a flat amount or a per-lap amount. The middle school students walked around the quarter-mile track at least four times, though most went many more than that, and it also counted as their physical education class, Hoffman said.

He likes the run-a-thon, he said, because it's a healthy, outdoor activity that involves all the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students in a good-natured competition and doesn't require any special talent for selling.

β€œWe can walk around and talk to our friends and be outside,” said eighth-grader Brynn Hickey.

In the afternoon, the students did team-building activities, such as a group tying itself into a knot and having to work together to untie themselves, tug-of-war and other such games, said eighth-grader Taylor Lawson.

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β€œIt's like a free day,” Morgan added.

Having this day early in the school year, Hoffman said, gives the students and teachers a chance to build relationships by having some fun together.

β€œWe want to be able to fund all the things we want to do here in the middle school,” Hoffman said. β€œThis (fundraiser) is middle-school-friendly: moving, healthy, a lot of team-building and they compete as a homeroom class, and we make sure that our main focus is team-building.

"The rapport we build among the kids and with the teachers, that follows us the rest of the year.”

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Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter

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Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Herald & Review.

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