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Primary School students will run an 'Olympic' Jog-A-Thon

"The Olympics are coming to South Whidbey -- the Jog-a-Thon Olympics, that is.On Friday, Oct. 6, the students of South Whidbey Primary and Intermediate schools will be dusting off their jogging shoes and sprinting around the track to support their school and SWEPTA, the South Whidbey Elementary Parent-Teacher Association. The Jog-a-Thon is a fund-raising event in which students collect pledges for each lap they will complete around a 1/16th-mile track (approximately the length of a football field). Students will run, walk or jog around the track for 20 minutes, allowing them to complete as many as 35-45 laps. The number of laps each student completes is then monitored and recorded by a parent volunteer. Donors may make a pledge per lap or a flat pledge.This year, said Donna Ertel Riley, Jog-A-Thon organizer and SWEPTA fund-raising chair, the event has been tied into the official Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. When we announced this year's Jog-A-Thon to the students, they were really excited that it would be a Jog-A-Thon Olympics, Riley said. At the suggestion of primary school teacher Laura Anthony, each classroom was randomly assigned a country to represent one of the 199 countries participating in the Olympic Games (200, if you count East Timor! Riley said), and the track will be in the form of Olympic Rings, with each grade level running on a different ring. The classes are also studying their assigned country -- its culture, customs, children. They'll make a replica of their country's flag, which they will proudly carry to the Jog-A-Thontrack on the day of the event -- as in the Parade of Nations during the opening ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games.And of course they are watching the Olympics daily to see how their assigned country is doing in the official competition. At the event itself, there will be snacks (including 900 apples being donated by Casey's Red Apple Market), participation rewards, and Olympic-style classroom prizes: The three classrooms from each school that bring in the most pledge money will win a Gold Medal ($150), Silver Medal ($100) or Bronze Medal ($50) for their efforts. Students will be collecting pledges between now and Friday, Oct. 6. Businesses, churches and individuals are encouraged to contribute to the fund-raiser by sponsoring a student jogger or by calling Riley at 221-7741 and making a general pledge by phone. Funds generated by this annual event help provide materials and student opportunities such as field trips, assemblies, guest speakers, playground equipment, library books, the Art Docent Program, foreign language education, Science Day, the Pacific Science Center Science Van, computer software, and more. "

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