A year after turning into a virtual event due to the pandemic, the St. Michael School and Travis Mills Walk-A-Thon returned as an in-person event on Wednesday, May 19, thanks to the creativity and determination of students, school parents, and staff.
“This year's event had a few twists to it than from the last five years,” said Denise Levesque, marketing director at St. Michael School in Augusta. “Students have been participating in qualifying activities for over a month while teachers recorded their activities. Each St. Michael student received a worksheet with a variety of activities to complete. The total time of activities culminated on Wednesday, which consisted not only of the walk, but games and fun activities as well.”
On Wednesday, students were assigned different "zones" to report to with their class and participated in the activity designated to that zone. Every 30 minutes, they moved to the next zone. Activities included walking laps, running laps, and an obstacle course.
“We wanted the kids to have fun,” said Jennifer Sparda, a school parent who served as a co-chair on the Walk-A-Thon Committee that organized the event. “We didn’t want to give up the day because everyone has worked hard and looks forward to the day to be active and do something healthy.”
“Students also collected items to donate to military service members stationed away from their families, wrote thank you notes to our service members, and created flags and signs to hang up during the event,” said Kevin Cullen, principal at St. Michael.
Pledges received by students benefit St. Michael School and the Travis Mills Foundation, which assists veterans who have been injured during active duty. Mills, who is one of five quadruple amputees to survive injuries during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, was in attendance for the event on Wednesday, spending time with students and thanking them for their contributions.
"I got to really get more in-depth with the classes one on one and things like that so I really am thankful for the school here and all they're doing and just letting me be a part of their winning team," said Mills.
“This fundraiser is so important, not only to support our community and the foundation, but it teaches our kids about the military service men and women who are supporting our country every single day,” said Jaime Schorr, another co-chair of the Walk-A-Thon Committee.
The event ended with a hamburger and hot dog lunch for all students and staff.
“The goal this year was to raise enough money to fund two weeks of families at the Travis Mills retreat in Belgrade Lakes, where they can participate in adaptive activities and meet other veteran families,” said Levesque. “Students took pledges manually and electronically. Monies are to be turned in by the end of this week.”
“We’re so thankful that Travis took time out of his busy schedule to visit with the students and cheer them on. We truly appreciate it,” said Cullen. “The efforts and energy of our volunteers and the Walk-A-Thon Committee were overwhelming. We are so blessed to have such an amazing St. Michael School community.”