Students 'tug' for funds

Blue-clad students filled the field at Thurston Middle School on Tuesday. Gathered on two sides of a long rope, students pulled with all their might, helping their team win during the Epic Challenge.

Organized by Thurston PTA, the Epic Challenge consisted of daily physical activities all in the name of raising funds for their middle school — such as Tug-O-War, relay races, "Minute to Win It" and "The Amazing Race" competitions.

So far, Thurston kids have raised $21,000. The funds will go directly to the students in the form of programs, resources and supplies.

When they raise money, their names also are entered in a raffle for prizes such as iPod Shuffles and gift cards. The grand prize is an iPad.

Parent and volunteer Peggy Wolff called the event "home-spun fundraising" because the effort revolves solely around the campus.

Sweating, high-fiving and laughing after being dragged in the dirt — students seemed to be enjoying stray from their normal physical education routine.

"It's a lot of fun because you get to compete against your friends," said Willy Hogan, an eighth-grader.

Leslie Dwight, 13, admitted that at first, she wished they were allowed to make their own teams but now she realizes that the fundraiser is about more than just hanging out with your peers.

"It's a good way for everyone to work together," she said.

Students were looking forward to Thursday and Friday's activities, PE teacher Michael Bair said, which are based on TV shows "Minute to Win It" and "The Amazing Race."

The PTA came up with the idea of the fundraiser after noticing the success of the Jog-A-Thon. However, they wanted to come up something that would get middle schoolers excited.

"It's a fun student-parent and community event," said Principal Joanne Culverhouse, who watched the eighth-graders tug to the finish. "The parents have worked so hard and I think it's going to raise a lot of money for the school."

PTA President Lynn Gregory tells the students that raising funds for the school is one way they can leave a legacy for the students who come after them.

"With the budget cuts, we want to be able to contribute," she said. "We want to make sure to fill the gap if there is one."

Although the physical activities end Friday, the community can still donate to Thurston's Epic Challenge for another week.

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