Fundraiser to Build Gymnasium for St. Martin East Elementary
St. Martin East Elementary School needs your help building a new gymnasium. News 25’s Kendra Turley introduces us to the school’s “Let’s Make it Happen” fundraiser.
P.E. is easily the best part of any elementary school kid’s day, but for students at St. Martin East Elementary School that time to release isn’t always guaranteed because the campus doesn’t have a gymnasium. P.E. Coach Joe Clark said, “On bad weather days, which could be pretty often around here, we got to the library or we go to the music room.”
The school has grown so much over the past few years that all of the classrooms are now full, forcing Clark to operate out of a shed.
Although Coach Clark is appreciative of the storage space, with little light and no air conditioning, it’s not the ideal place to store P.E. equipment. “You notice all the balls go flat. Every time I have to use them, I have to air them up,” said Clark.
A couple of years ago, the school’s parent teacher organization set a goal to raise $400,000 to build a 7,000 square foot gym. The PTO raised over half that amount, but is still shy about $100,000. A recent social media contest encouraged school administrators to start a different type of fundraiser called the “Let’s Make it Happen” challenge. Principal Nannette Whitehead said, “It was kicked off by a television station that offered a contest out there to have 500 shares and likes for their TV station. We took on the challenge and they donated $150 to our fund and we said, ‘hey, if they’ll do it, maybe we can get some other businesses to do it.”
The online fundraiser is a win-win, providing a boost to company Facebook pages and a new gym for not only Coach Clark and his students, but the entire Jackson County community. “You can only do so much with cookie dough and box tops. We’re really pushing it this year and hopefully we’ll be able to get it off the ground starting this summer,” said Whitehead.
If you’re interested in finding out more on the fundraiser or making a donation, visit the St. Martin East PTO page on Facebook.