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Murray Journal

Wearing a hat or PJs? Chewing gum? Easy Horizon fundraiser allows special privileges

Dec 04, 2019 09:50AM ● By Julie Slama

Horizon Elementary students recently paid to wear hats at school as part of their monthly fundraiser that has an end goal of supporting an arts program at the school. (Photo courtesy of Janel Williams)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

There’s something special happening the last Friday of the month when Horizon Elementary students are in school.

In September, they wore hats. Another Friday they brought stuffed animals and wore PJs. Last year, there was a day they could chew gum in school.

It’s all part of the school’s reoccurring fundraiser, where students pay $1 to be a part of the Friday activity, said PTA president Maren Patterson, who adds that teachers have coupons they can give to students who they think earned a special privilege and not pay the $1.

“Last year, we started a monthly fundraiser where students can make the donation to be a part of the special privilege that usually isn’t allowed at school,” Patterson said.

Last year, they raised about $140 that was put toward school amplification in three rooms. This past September, they raised $205.

“Our fund is definitely growing as people learn about it,” she said. “And it’s an easy, fun fundraiser for the kids.”

Patterson is excited about the purpose of the fundraiser.

“We definitely have big goals,” she said. “We surveyed our parents and were surprised in the response. What they thought was most important is an arts program, overwhelmingly it was No. 1. So, we’re directing our focus and attending to supporting an arts program for our students.”

That means, after the school’s traditionally bell choir season is over at winter break, Patterson hopes to bring in the Bad Dog Arts program afterschool.

“We know that there will be some students who can’t afford to be in the program, but that’s where our fundraising comes in. We’d like to award those students scholarships and fund as many students as possible,” she said about creating an inclusive learning environment. “This is community helping to building community for all our students. It builds our culture as a school and unites us through this bond.”

The PTA also is supporting diversity and inclusion through highlighting several themed months, such as Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage. This, too, would lead into supporting an arts program at the school, Patterson said.

“We are hoping to have dancers, storytellers, food trucks and more to get hands-on experience with other cultures and be more inclusive citizens. Horizon has such a unique position to do that since many of our teachers in our dual language program are from other countries and our student population has such diversity from immigrants and refugees from around the world,” she said.

Patterson said that they are planning to hold a multicultural or inclusion festival, possibly in February.

“We’d like to expose our students to learn about many different cultures. We’re really excited. We have never done it before although our dual immersion teachers have shared their experiences with their students,” she said. “We want to broaden the scopes of our students, build that culture, and work together for our students. It gets everyone involved and it’s powerful.”