Montecito Union School held its annual physical education fundraiser, the “Jog-A-Thon,” on October 6 on the school track. P.E. teachers Linda Trigueiro and Kimmie Coley deemed the day perfect for running and the race was on. The teachers were in charge of getting students warmed up for the run around the track, the start- and stop-times. They made sure kids stayed hydrated as well.

Co-chairs for the event were Christina Lund (her fourth year as co-chair), Maureen Speer and Michelle Crane. The MUS moms, each of whom has a boy in the third grade and a girl in the sixth grade, worked seamlessly and energetically together at the event. They organized the sponsors and prizes for the students, supplied the post-race popsicles, the water booth, the tee shirt design contest and other job activities.

Last year, the Jog-A-Thon donated its proceeds ($64,000) to Direct Relief International for Hurricane Katrina victims, the first time the school directed Jog-A-Thon funds to a non-school entity. This year, it netted approximately $30,000, which will be used for Montecito Union’s healthy living program, which focuses on “Green Living” at the school and “Healthy Habits.” Some of the initiatives are biodegradable serving utensils for school meals, the student garden club, healthy snacks at school, and a new wellness program.

This year’s winner of the tee shirt design was sixth-grader Olivia Berci, who was selected from 30 student submissions. Her design was of the food pyramid with her own food selected for each category. The pyramid base has a racetrack around it and the top of the pyramid is the word “MUS.” An excited Olivia says she came up with the design to match the theme of the event, “Healthy Habits.”

The Jog-A-Thon is one of a few Montecito Union functions that casts the students as principal participants in either gathering or soliciting funds; some kids even donate their lunch money. The event is put on by a bevy of parent volunteers and, according to organizers, “huge” community support. Sponsors for this year’s event included the Montecito Branch of Northern Trust, which for the fourth year in a row donated money for the tee shirts.

A Running Start…

Ann Tro, Jill Wolf, Marla Hieshima and Katie Cusimano have so much experience organizing Cold Spring School Jog-A-Thons, you could say they began this year’s affair hitting the ground running. The parents have been at it for the past four years and without hesitation signed up for a fifth run-off, this one on October 6 at the Westmont College track. It was there that students grades three through six ran regular laps while children in the lower grades participated on a mini-track set up by organizers.

The school’s Jog-A-Thon format is similar to that of Montecito Union in that it attracts a top crowd of enthusiastic who show up in adoring devotion, squirting runners with water bottles and counting laps the whole way.

When the race was completed, kids ambled to the finish booths to collect complimentary popsicles and coupons for free ice cream from Baskin Robbins.

This year’s tee shirt was designed by fifth-grader Jordan Chandler.

The Jog-A-Thon is a Cold Spring Parent Club-sponsored event and is that club’s biggest fundraiser of the year.