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Rotary raises money for local school districts
MARYSVILLE Pumpkin pushing paid off for children as the Marysville Rotary Club handed out checks to Arlington, Lakewood and Marysville schools last weekend. Over the last seven years the noon group has contributed more than $110,000 to help literacy efforts in the three north Snohomish County districts by selling pumpkins and concessions, with lots of free fun on the side.
This year a new, larger location at the relocated Plant Farm at Smokey Point attracted lots of visitors from far and wide, and filled Rotary coffers like never before. In addition to cash donations to the schools, the noon Rotary will buy hardback dictionaries for nearly 900 Marysville fourth-graders. The Marysville Sunrise Rotary also pitched in with funds to buy dictionaries for 300 Lakewood School District fourth-graders, according to Daryn Bundy, pumpkin-pusher-in-chief for the noon Rotary.
Its a lot of fun for a fundraiser, Bundy said as visitors took free hay rides around the nursery and kids frolicked in the bouncy houses next to the pumpkin patch.
As he handed out checks to teachers, librarians and administrators Bundy urged them to sign up students for the field trips the Pumpkins for Literacy program arranges with local schools to help get children reading. Students are given a list of questions with clues that can only be found during visits to the farm. It made an impact, he said.
You remember the days you were out on a field trip, Bundy said.
As he and Marysville Rotary President Wayne Zachry handed out the checks, Bundy thanked all the Rotary volunteers who staffed the concessions, drove the tractors and sold pumpkins during the month-long event. He also noted that the Sky Valley Antique and Tractor Club provided the agricultural relics on display.
Educators were beaming as they clung onto their checks. Jane Colson is in her fifth year as principal of Sunnyside Elementary School and was ecstatic.
This supports us 100 percent, Colson said. Its very important because its supporting our libraries at Sunnyside. This will help five classroom libraries.
Thats a focus of the school district, keeping books at the ready for students, much like the impulse items at the counter of a convenience store. Classroom libraries are complimenting the larger school libraries in the elementary schools to help instill the reading habit early and to ensure that students get their book fix as easily as possible.
Allen Sharples is the curriculum major domo for the Lakewood School District and he wants to get classroom libraries in his elementary schools as well. Money is the key, and the Rotary help is appreciated, he said.
Its been going a long time, Sharples said. The Rotarys emphasis on literacy matches real well with what Lakewood is trying to do.
This is awesome, what Rotary does for us, echoed Marysville School District superintendent Larry Nyland, noting support for the M-PHS TV3 program, and the Breaking Down the Walls sessions that got Rotary contributions over the years. That doesnt just involve cutting a check but volunteering time and expertise as well, he stressed.
They are just incredibly generous in support of education, Nyland said.