Braving temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, Crestview Elementary School Principal Jodi Husting and a dozen staff members camped out on the school’s roof Thursday night.
It was part of Husting’s pledge to students: if they met their $20,000 school fundraising goal — a leap from previous years' totals of $6,000 to $8,000 — she’d spend the night on the roof. This year, the students brought in over $23,000.
"The amazing thing for me about the whole experience is it's really brought our school together as a community. It's something we’ve really been working on at Crestview, to develop a sense of community and belonging for every child," Husting said.
Last year, the school switched its fundraising model from students selling cookies to collecting pledges for participating in a fun run. The switch removed some of the financial pressure on students, and also provided more of an opportunity for the community to connect, Husting said.
“This year, it morphed into something much more community driven and bigger,” Husting said. “We set the goal super lofty — $20,000. We weren’t sure what was going to happen.”
To get there, they'd need some incentives for the kids. The PTSA came up with the roof idea, Husting said. When she agreed, teachers and staff agreed to do similar tricks - such as running the race in a wolf costume or teaching in disco costume.
Students kept track of their progress with a poster in which a paper figurine of Husting climbed up a ladder for each level of money raised.
“Kids were bringing in 40 pennies from home, just like, ‘I really want her to sleep on the roof!’ That kind of stuff was so much fun,” Husting said. "I heard some kids say, this is the best day ever."
They also added games and found sponsors to provide food for the fun run event.
"It was one of those events where there wasn’t a lot of hoopla. They were dong pumpkin bowling, sac races, jumping the hay bales. We didn’t have prizes, it was just for fun," she said. "It was just a fun, motivational community building event that also raised a lot of money for our kids."
With the funds, Crestview is giving a new school t-shirt to every student. In addition, the funds are earmarked towards a field tip for every student. The money could also help with a new sound system for the school, as well as other miscellaneous costs for student events, Husting said.
Similar shenanigans ensued at Bailey Elementary, where teachers volunteered to be sprayed with silly string, get pie'd in the face and wear crazy hats, among other stunts. To cap it all off, Principal Candy Gram camped out on the roof Tuesday night.
Bailey had also switched from having students sell items to a read-a-thon format.
“We really made it about reading, and while we’re reading, try to get donations from our families,” Gram said. “We really expressed to them we’d like to make as much as last year, but didn’t ever give them a number.”
The students ended up raising about $15,000, which was on par with its previous fundraisers. The money will go towards the general PTA fund, which can go towards any aspect of the school, Gram said.
“It actually was an amazing community building event. We had it over 10 days … During that time, the students were so excited,” she said. “There was just a sense of community, working together in the building.”