Superintendent Scott Olinger and School Board members Scott Flood and Jessica Elston (President), lead first grade students down Buchanan Street in the final stretch of the Walkathon.

In just its fifth year, the Plainfield Elementary Schools' Walkathon earned more than $83,000 to fund field trips, convocations and school-wide programs for the 2018-2019 academic year. Wow!

For teachers, the walkathon is a fun break for some outdoor fun as the end of the school year draws near. For students, it's a time to be with friends, burn some energy and feel as though they're helping their school. For administrators and school board members, getting to walk with students is an important way to say "thank you" for the tremendous efforts that go into such a big event.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of chairwomen Michelle Becker and Carol Mehl (Brentwood), Danielle Bell (Central), Rachel Pace (Clarks Creek), and Katie Chamness (Van Buren), this year's event set a new fundraising record. Between corporate donations and student pledges, the schools increased last year's earnings by nearly $20,000.

Events like this are not be possible in a vacuum. Plainfield businesses have been incredibly supportive of school events through the years, and the Walkathon is just another example of their generosity. 

The Plainfield Police Department and Fire Territory are important partners in making this day a safe, and fun, event for students. From our bicycle officers who ride alongside the students, to the officers who ensure the streets remain safe when students are crossing, to the many officers who are also school parents and volunteer to be on-site, their presence is greatly appreciated. 

And with fire trucks and firemen sharing high fives and "great jobs" to the walkers, the students felt like celebrities. In some cases, the fire trucks also helped with traffic while groups of students were crossing the street. And of course, they were prepared to lend any first-aid support should it be needed. Thankfully, it wasn't!

Plainfield parents have long been willing volunteers as chaperones, committee members and classrooms assistants. This year's walkathon seemed to have more parents and grandparents walking the routes than ever before.

The Walkathon is held on two sites, with Brentwood and Clarks Creek students walking on the track at Clarks Creek. Central and Van Buren students warm up at Central, then walk through the neighborhoods that take them up Buchanan to Masten, south to Raymond and back down St. Luke, eventually crossing the "finish line" at Van Buren.  

While the objective of this event is to raise money for student programs, the benefit of fresh air and exercise is obvious. The route is designed to be a mile-long, although on the Clarks Creek track, many students get in more than the four laps. And many, including the tiniest pre-schoolers from Little Quakers Academy, run their laps!

To Michelle, Carol, Danielle, Rachel and Katie, we say a huge THANK YOU. And to all the businesses, family and friends, police and fire, and neighbors, please know how much your support is appreciated. Every child who takes a field trip next year, or experiences a convocation, will benefit from your kindness.