On the weekend of March 1st, the 8th graders at East Grand Middle School culminated their service-learning project for the year by building a 5K obstacle race course, and serving a spaghetti dinner with a silent auction. The event raised over $4,000 for the Mountain Family Center’s weekend food tote program, which sends backpacks full of food home with school kids who need nutritional assistance. The money raised will allow the expansion of the food tote program to included middle school students in both East and West Grand school districts.
Every student in the 8th grade helped to make this event happen. They were required to do four hours of work during the weekend, either to set up the course on Friday, work the race and dinner on Saturday, or to demolish the course on Sunday. During the dinner, students had help from volunteers with the Mountain Family Center, but students did a majority of the work with decorating, cooking and clean up. During racecourse set up and demolition, students had only a few adult volunteers, but those volunteers were of critical importance in the success of the event.
We would especially like to recognize Troy and Judy Neiberger, Ed Welch, Diana Rau, and Granby firefighters Andrew Becker, Drew Schwiethale and Jim Lewis for giving several hours of their own time during racecourse set up and demolition. Diana packed the snowy course down with her snowmobile and a grooming drag for at least six hours. The Neibergers made log braces for obstacles, brought giant culvert pipe, brought necessary tools, and supervised students building obstacles on the course. Ed Welch brought logs, snowmobiles, sleds, and also assisted students in building obstacles. The Granby firefighters loaned us a water pump truck and several firefighting backpacks, and helped students spray the snow and freeze the obstacles into place. Without their tremendous help, this huge undertaking could not have been successful.
We would also like to thank all the local businesses that donated items for the silent auction and food for the spaghetti dinner. The budget for this event was $0, so this could not have happened without donations. Some silent auction items included: lodging packages, restaurant gift certificates, furniture, a battery charger and products and services from many local businesses. The silent auction raised approximately $1,600 of the total.
Since this was the first year of this event, turn out for the race was low, and students rightly deduced that we needed more advertising to get more people to attend. However, those that did come and tackle the obstacle course said it was both fun and challenging. The students would like to put this on as an annual event, and hopefully get a larger turnout each year. People who came for the dinner said the food was delicious, and many parents donated homemade spaghetti sauce or homemade bread for the event.
In the end, students learned a valuable lesson about hard work and a sense of accomplishment, and doing a valuable service for their community. They took part in every step of the project, from planning, to advertising, to building the course, gathering items for the silent auction, cooking and serving the dinner, and demolishing the course. All students were involved from start to finish, and should feel a great sense of pride for what they have accomplished. Congratulations to the students of East Grand Middle School for putting on the first annual Mardi Gras Bolt 5K obstacle race and spaghetti dinner.