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Detroit Lakes fifth-graders raise $2,127 in 'Walk for Wadena'

Photo by Dana Pavek/WDC Schools Front row, from left: Katrina Okeson and Alexis Carlson, organizers of the Walk for Wadena fund-raiser from Roosevelt Elementary in Detroit Lakes, and Pam Kruger, Roosevelt Elementary teacher, presented a check for $2,127 this week to Wadena-Deer Creek High School. Also pictured accepting the donation, back row, from left: WDC High School senior Dustin Cantrell; WDC High School phy ed/health teacher Tom VanErp, WDC senior Josh Sherman and WDC junior Jeremy Sherman. The mo...1 / 2
Photo provided by Connie Johnson, Roosevelt Elementary Roosevelt Elementary fifth-grade students walk and run during their lunch break for a fund-raiser for Wadena.2 / 2

Every day for a week in November, most of the fifth -graders at Roosevelt Elementary School in Detroit Lakes walked or ran a mile over their lunch hour to raise money for Wadena-Deer Creek High School.

After Pam Kruger's class read the book, "Walk for a Cause," some started to ask if they could walk for their own cause.

"I said I'd help, but you will have to do the work," Kruger said, who is a Title 1 teacher at Roosevelt Elementary. And so they did.

Spearheading the "Walk for Wadena" fund-raiser were Katrina Okeson and Alexis Carlson, two quiet-spoken fifth-graders with hearts as big as Texas. For almost two weeks, Okeson and Carlson came to school early, and used their lunchtime to organize the event.

"We made posters, stayed in at noon and came in every morning to help out," Okeson said. The class then went out and got pledges for walking a mile -- four laps around the school track -- for five days. "This is their playtime they gave up," Kruger said of those participating, which she said was at least 90 percent of the fifth grade.

The students raised $1,827 through pledges and a $300 donation from the school custodians. "We weren't expecting that much, so that's great," Kruger said. Carlson said she's "really happy" with her classmates and their participation.

"This has been a great project for our kids," said Roosevelt Elementary Principal Jerry Hanson.

"There are no prizes here. They're just doing it out of the goodness of their hearts and giving back to the community," Kruger said, adding one of the mothers did bake cookies and hand to the kids when they finished their last lap on Friday.

WDC High School phy ed/health teacher Tom VanErp said using the money toward a treadmill for the aerobics room is a perfect choice for this donation made possible by kids doing a wellness fund-raiser. VanErp said he was also impressed by these young kids and their generosity.

"This gift is fantastic -- Detroit Lakes kids helping WDC's kids. A huge thanks to the Detroit Lakes fifth grade!" VanErp said.