Luverne Elementary School Principal Stacy Gillette (in white cap) encourages runners Friday, April 24, at the new fundraising event called Cardinal Dash. Gillette ran with the third-grade class, who gathered the most pledges as a group.Stacy Kruse leads Luverne Elementary School students, staff and parents Friday afternoon, April 24, on the football field at the conclusion of the first-ever Cardinal Dash.Second-grader Jackson Ganun completes a half-mile run Friday afternoon, April 24, around the high school ball fields.Jerad Arp came directly from work (complete with a pencil behind his ear) to run with daughter Jaelyn.

Cardinal Dash raises funds for school causes

Luverne’s Parents Partners in Education (PPIE) completed a unique fundraiser Friday, April 24, in a fun run around the Luverne Public School’s ball fields.

This was the first year the group organized the event that had kindergarten through fifth-grade students request pledges from community members and then run a half-mile to a two-mile course.

“Cardinal Dash: Keeping Cardinal Kids Running” replaced the group’s frozen food fundraiser with the fun run activity.

“We also wanted an event that would encourage families to get outside and be active together,” said PPIE member and organizer Anne Shelton.

Shelton and fellow member Amy Nelson organized Friday’s Cardinal Dash event.

“We were thrilled to see how excited everyone was about the event,” Shelton said. “We didn’t meet our goal, but we still feel it was a success.”

The group raised $12,600 in pledges, short of the $20,000 goal set last fall.

However, with the numerous prizes given away and the holding back of the grand prize if the fundraising goal was met, Shelton said enthusiasm is building for keeping the Cardinal Dash as an annual event.

“We earned enough money to support our kids next year and we have a good foundation to build on in the future,” she said.

The monies go toward enhancing educational activities, such as the upcoming kindergarten track and field day, guest speaker assemblies and the Presidential Physical Fitness awards.

For the Cardinal Dash, students earned prizes for pledge amounts plus students were eligible for the numerous raffle drawings. Because PPIE didn’t reach its goal, the grand prize was kept for possible release next year.

This year, the third-grade class earned the most pledges as a group and fifth-grader Tenley Nelson earned the most pledges as an individual.

More than 530 elementary students ran in Friday’s Cardinal Dash with 235 students returning pledge envelopes with donations, Sheldon said.

“We are very pleased with the entire event,” she said. “It was a challenge and we learned a great deal in organizing and planning it … it fuels my excitement for next year.”

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