Donner Trail Superhero Ski-a-Thon funds music, science, physical education and field trips | SierraSun.com
Susan McCormick
Special to the Sun

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Donner Trail Superhero Ski-a-Thon funds music, science, physical education and field trips

On a sunny, spring Friday, Donner Trail Elementary students raised more than $2,500 for their education and community. Sporting superhero costumes, students challenged themselves to complete as many ski or snowshoe laps as they could in their school's backyard.

The annual PTO fundraising event didn't just raise money — it was also a whole lot of fun for students, teachers and parents. In the gym, kids in capes and masks lined up by grade before heading outside to grab gear and start lapping.

Parent DJ Shana Berger set up her sound system outside, energizing the event with everything from pop hits to the Superman and Wonder Woman theme songs. Kindergarteners skied a smaller track, second and third graders skied a larger one, and fourth and fifth graders snowshoed a separate course through the woods. PE teacher, Mrs. Nelson, is the rock behind this event setting the courses and prepping equipment. Parents and teachers cheered students on, ringing cowbells and offering water and fruit each time students passed.

Prior to the March 31st event, student gathered pledges from friends and family — the more laps they complete, the more money they raise. While the bulk of the money will fund music, science, physical education and field trips at Donner Trail, 10% will go to the Headwaters Science Institute in Soda Springs. The charitable element "helps kids learn the superhero power of using their skills to raise money for causes bigger than themselves," explains PTO vice president Adrienne Portnoy.

It was hard to tell what students were most excited about — the costumes, the music or just being outside. "I think Daisy is most excited about the piece of cookie I promised her for each lap," said PTO secretary, Nate Melen.

The kids pushed their limits, ending the afternoon proud and exhausted. "It was challenging because I had blisters on my feet," said second grader Maya Fernandes.

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With their school located near the top of Donner Summit, Donner Trail kids had more than their share of snow days, early dismissals, long bus rides and power outages this winter. Emphasizing positivity and optimism in the face of adversity, Donner Trail teachers, students and parents made learning a priority this winter despite the obstacles.

"This is a great idea so that the people who come to Donner Trail after us can have a better school," said third grader Ashynn Johnston as she rested in the sun after the event.