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Holladay Journal

How Morningside Elementary put the fun in fundraiser

Sep 30, 2019 12:03PM ● By Heather Lawrence

Morningside third graders Madelyn and Ella had a blast at the annual fundraiser, and got in some pledge laps around the school. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

School fundraisers might conjure up images of cute kids selling chocolate or coupon books. You really want to help them, but you might not need what they’re selling. Morningside Elementary School’s fundraiser is one the community looks forward to each year — a Blockwalk with a carnival-like atmosphere. This year’s incarnation was held Sept. 6 at the school at 4170 South 3000 East.

“This is a community event that people look forward to each year. People come to volunteer who don’t even have kids at the school anymore. We were setting up today and a woman was out on a walk — she just came over and started helping us,” said Mandy Perez-Morris, the PTA president-elect of Morningside. 

The theme for this year’s Blockwalk was “A Night Under the Big Top.” To enhance the carnival theme, the school ground was set up with bounce houses, face painting stations and food trucks. Volunteers ran a bake sale with food donations from local businesses like Great Harvest Bread Co. and Crumbl Cookies. More donations went toward a silent auction. 

“We have to give a big shout-out to the businesses who donated to our bake sale and silent auction. Everyone’s a part of it, and that makes it really fun,” Perez-Morris said. 

Students like third graders Ella and Madelyn also contributed by doing the Blockwalk. “We mark a route that goes around the school and kids get pledges from people to pay a certain amount for each time they complete the route. This year’s route is .6 of a mile, so it’s a good distance,” said Dan Lauritzen, communications VP on the Morningside PTA board. 

Some may question why schools have fundraisers in the first place. The Utah PTA website notes that funds raised by elementary schools go toward PTA projects. “PTAs do not exist to raise money, but raise money to exist,” the website states.  

PTAs at the elementary level are governed by bylaws and specific policies regarding money. Each school has its own board that meets regularly. They organize and support extra activities such as Reflections, Red Ribbon Week, class parties, Field Day and a meal for teachers during Parent-Teacher Conferences. 

“This is the one fundraiser we do for the whole year that goes to support more than 20 programs and events. Any funds left at the end of the year go back to the school. Last year we used our extra funds to buy a Buddy Bench for the playground,” Perez-Morris said. 

PTAs are allowed one major fundraiser per year. The Morningside Blockwalk has become such a tradition that they likely won’t be changing it to sell chocolate instead any time soon. “We’ve been doing this for 25 years. It’s always in September. We get lots of community support, especially from Skyline and Olympus students. They get Community Cares credit for volunteering,” Perez-Morris said. 

Morningside’s fundraising goal was optimistic: $25,000. Lauritzen said the school of about 600 students needs a lot of unifying events because they are “a melting pot school.” 

“We have three distinct programs here that bring in kids from all over the valley. First, there is the traditional track as the neighborhood school. Second, we have a dual-immersion French program. And third, we are a magnet school,” Perez-Morris said. Magnet schools have accelerated academic programs for gifted and talented students. 

“Our role as PTA board members is to do everything we can to support kids,” Lauritzen said. Based on the success of this year’s fundraiser, it looks like they’re off to a great start.