Students set to run for schools

The La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation is looking to break its own record in this year's Jog-A-Thon.

The Foundation raised more than $179,000, a record high, during last year's Jog-A-Thon. This year the organization is setting the bar even higher. It's looking to generate $180,000.

"That's obviously a main goal, but the other goal is to have everybody participate," said Tracy Stewart, chairman of the event. "If everyone would participate I'd be very happy."

The Jog-A-Thon, the Foundation's second-largest fundraiser each year behind its spring gala, is staged in two phases. Wednesday, when Paradise Canyon, Palm Crest and La Cañada elementary schools' students all ran laps for money, was the first phase. La Cañada High's seventh- and eighth-graders will run on Jan. 21, the event's second phase.

The Jog-A-Thon is unique from the Foundation's other fundraisers because it's the only one that incorporates the district's students.

Elementary students received donations, whether per-lap or via flat pledges, during the month leading up to the Jog-A-Thon. But Wednesday was the fun part, as kids ran, walked or jogged during their physical-education time, knowing each lap paid off.

Caden Smith, a second-grader at Paradise Canyon, was proud his laps made a difference.

"It felt good knowing I helped to raise some money for my school," Smith said.

That's music to Stewart's ears.

"I hope the students realize they can actually do something to help their schools," she said.

Each year the money the Educational Foundation generates is donated to La Cañada Unified. The district has received $16 million from the Foundation in its 32-year existence.

"The Foundation is a key player in achieving and maintaining the high standards of La Cañada Unified School District," Palm Crest Elementary Principal Karen Hurley said.

La Cañada's school district uses money provided by the Foundation to maintain smaller class sizes, update technology and keep extra-curricular programs running.

"The schools really are hurting now, especially with this crazy budget [California] passed," Stewart said. "The state is already $25 billion in the hole and you know the first thing they're going to cut is education."

Total funds raised from the Jog-A-Thon won't be known until after La Cañada High's Jog-A-Thon early next year.

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