WILTON, Conn. — More than 1,000 students and staff from Wilton’s Cider Mill School will take over the track at Wilton High School Wednesday morning for the fourth annual Cider Mill Walkathon.
During the event, organized by the Cider Mill PTA, the entire Cider Mill community will walk 1-mile around the track to raise money for student programming. The theme of this year's fundraiser is "walking on sunshine."
“The event moved me to tears when I saw it for the first time last year,” said Nicola Davies, PTA vice president of fundraising. “One thousand children having such a wonderful time singing and dancing around the track— it is a rare and powerful thing when a whole community comes together like this.
"There was such positive energy on the track that morning," Davies added. "I'm so proud to be a part of it.”
As they make their way around the track, students from each of Cider Mill's four houses— Nod Hill, Cannondale, Belden Hill and Kent— will hold up banners representing their house.
In keeping with this year's theme, many students will be wearing "walking on sunshine" walkathon T-shirts, designed by Cider Mill fourth-grader Jenna Kirincich.
Prior to the walk itself, each student is encouraged to gather monetary pledges from friends and family. Last year, 93 percent of students turned in pledge forms, helping raise $41,000 for the school, said Andrea Bates, PTA publicity chairman.
The main goal of this year’s walkathon is to have 100 percent of students gather pledges— no matter how small, Bates said. Financially, the PTA hopes to raise a minimum of $37,000.
All money raised through the event will be used for student programming, Bates said. For example, the walkathon helps support Fun Nights and Field Days, two programs that provide students the opportunity to socialize outside of the classroom.
Money raised will also benefit the Visiting Author program, and the Gifts and Grants program, in which teachers can receive PTA grants for in-class projects.
“The Gifts and Grants program is a way for the PTA to help teachers directly,” Bates said.
Anyone who would like to support the walkathon can send a check to: Cider Mill School, 204 School Road, Wilton, Conn., 06897 (attention Nicola Davies.) Checks should be made out to Cider Mill PTA.