Thursday, December 3, 2015

WAIS Color Run Raises Money, Builds Community

As WAIS School Director Jennifer Collier (center) orchestrates, students and staff simultaneously toss bags of colored powder into the air.
It wasn’t exactly the color of money, but the Westchester Academy for International Studies (WAIS) Color Run in September represented what organizers hope will be a year’s worth of fundraising.

Organized by WAIS PTA, the event’s goal was to both raise money and build community. The idea is to raise enough money with a single fundraiser to cover clubs and activities for the school year, so the groups don’t have to singularly raise funds.

“There’s a misconception that Westchester is wealthy,” said WAIS PTA President Kristen Jurek. “We need the money to help alleviate costs for our families without means.”

WAIS Upper School students emerge from a cloud of pink powder.
Students collected pledges for laps run or walked during the event, which featured stations of colored powder that volunteers periodically – or randomly – threw on participants and themselves. Clouds of rainbow-colored dust rose above the participants as the heavier powder coated walker, runners and volunteers.

WAIS staff got into the event as well, including School Director Jennifer Collier who took a face full of pre-lap powder to get things started.

Volunteers used leaf blowers to blast powder off of students as they exited the event area before returning to classes inside the building.

WAIS Upper School students run through clouds of colored powder.
“The kids loved it,” said Jurek. “A senior said it was the best thing they’ve done at Westchester.”

Jurek called the Color Run a success but acknowledged that the event fell short of its fundraising goal. With pledges still coming in, she’s optimistic that WAIS will come close to that goal, if not actually reaching it.

“Our goal is to be a community at Westchester,” said Jurek. “You can’t be a community when you’re competing (with one another) for funds.”

There’s also the sense of neighborhood community that’s lacking at WAIS, a choice school that draws students from their zoned schools.

“We’re in competition with the whole district,” said Jurek.


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