Record-breaking strut

Sam Houston PTO collects $30,000-plus at Smokies Strut

First grader Ava Erikson gives the Smokies Strut lap all she has.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

First grader Ava Erikson gives the Smokies Strut lap all she has.

The Parent Teacher Organization at Sam Houston Elementary will be fulfilling a lot of teachers’ wishes after students raised a record amount of more than $30,000 at the annual Smokies Strut.

“We came in over $30,000, a new record for us,” said principal Scott Blevins.

The principal said the Smokies Strut is the school’s annual PTO fundraiser. It is a walk-a-thon where students are asked to get straight donations or pledges for the number of laps they walk to help their school. The students also compete for prizes, and the whole day is a fun event for the elementary students, teachers, volunteers and staff.

“It is really our only true fundraiser of the year and supports our PTO budget for entire year,” Blevins said. “There are no cookie or magazine sales or anything else. Our parents appreciate the fact we only do one fundraiser. It is a fun day for everyone, and our staff is always excited.”

Blevins said this year was no exception as there was a huge turn out of parents, adopt-a-school sponsors and Maryville Fire Department personnel. “A lot of folks come out to cheer on the kids, and everyone has a great time,” he said of the April 29 event.

The principal said all of the students from Pre-K through fourth grade participated, which was roughly 560 kids.

Blevins said the event is held near the end of each school year, and the money generated goes toward projects the PTO chooses to fund the following school year. “This year the big project we completed with Strut money from last year was a climbing wall in the gym,” he said. “In the past, we spent money on technology and playground equipment, whatever the PTO decides their emphasis for the year is going to be.”

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