Mohawk Trail Regional School ninth-graders raise nearly $3K for class, Baystate Health Foundation

  • Mohawk Trail Regional School in Buckland. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

For the Recorder
Published: 5/28/2021 6:20:02 PM

BUCKLAND — Ninth-graders at Mohawk Trail Regional School vastly exceeded their goal of raising $1,000 to support both their class and the Baystate Health Foundation, ultimately collecting $2,858 in their first walkathon.

Class of 2024 President Sophia Goodnow said having a positive impact on local individuals and communities is something that she and her classmates have learned does not have to be difficult.

“I think it’s important that we can give back to our community and kind of engage our community whenever we’re doing a school project or school fundraiser, because they’re the ones who are always there to support us,” Goodnow said. “To be able to give back to them while they give so much to us, that’s really special.”

Sixty percent of the money raised will be saved for class expenses, while the other 40 percent will go to the Baystate Health Foundation to assist low-income families in Franklin County who are having a hard time paying their hospital bills.

Only ninth-graders were invited to attend the May 22 walkathon due to COVID-19 health safety guidelines, though the response to the fundraising effort was overwhelmingly positive. Out of the Class of 2024’s 35-student class, 19 students attended the walkathon. Goodnow said even some students who spent the year attending classes completely remotely still showed up to support the cause, which she believes speaks to the support her classmates show for each other.

Similarly, Carla Potts, Mohawk Trail Regional School District’s communications director, said the fundraising event, which was voted on and organized by the students, speaks to their character.

“They are always thinking about how they (can) help their neighbors in need and lend a hand somewhere, (even) when they’re not asked to do so,” Potts said.

Class Advisor Tesia Elani said that on average, students walked between 4 and 8 miles at the walkathon. The student who walked the most was Class of 2024 Vice President Will VanVleet, coming in at 10 miles. VanVleet even walked 3 more miles later in the day to try to reach his goal of 15.

VanVleet received a gift certificate to Mo’s Fudge Factor for walking such a distance, while Goodnow came in first place for fundraising, raising a total of $845 and winning a gift certificate to Asma’s Kitchen in Shelburne Falls. Other local businesses contributed, too, including Big Y, which donated a gift certificate for those involved to buy snacks for the walkathon.

“Our community has shown itself to be incredibly generous and eager to help those who may need assistance right now,” Elani said.

VanVleet said the walkathon not only made a positive impact on the community, but it taught him about event planning and fundraising.

“Know your targets,” he said, as he elaborated on his experience knocking on doors in Shelburne with his friend to ask complete strangers for donations. The two raised about $260 that night.

Contrary to VanVleet’s more challenging route of fundraising, he and Goodnow said most students reached out to their immediate family members, friends and neighbors for donations.

While the students are unsure if the walkathon will continue in future years, Goodnow and VanVleet agreed it’s definitely a possibility.

“I’m super proud of the class. It blew me away the amount of people that just came out and supported us and all the people that walked,” Goodnow said. “Teamwork makes the dream work. The more people you have involved, the quicker and easier it is to plan such a big event like that.”


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