School Hustles To Raise Funds And Health Awareness

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - December 01, 2010
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Sixth-grader Leni Maika (front) does the hustle with more than 600 other Pearl Ridge Elementary students during the school’s first-ever Hustle for Health fundraiser, held Nov. 19 on the field. The day began with a fun run before the entire school - parents and teachers included - performed ‘The Hustle’ in unison. Photo by Leah Friel, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Pearl Ridge Elementary School students, teachers and parents recently proved disco isn’t dead with their first-ever schoolwide Hustle for Health dance-a-thon.

The new fundraiser concept is an expansion on the school’s popular Fun Run, which has been used to raise money and health awareness among children and adults for the past three years.

According PTG president Kent Sakata, the Hustle for Health was created as a way to increase fundraising, physical fitness and, most importantly, fun.

“We (the PTG) wanted to raise more funds via one fundraising event,” Sakata explained. “As such, one of the first things we wanted to develop was a catchy name that incorporated physical fitness in a fun, catchy concept.

“The Hustle itself is a fairly simple dance that even kindergartners can learn. Since we already had a Fun Run, the idea to expand on that came about by having a grand finale that all of the students could enjoy doing together, thus the idea of having 600-plus students and teachers ‘do The Hustle’ came about.”

Students practiced the dance steps to the ‘70s dance craze in their P.E. and music classes for four weeks, and on Nov. 19, immediately following the Fun Run, the entire school performed the dance in unison for the large crowd of onlookers that included parents, relatives and emcee Liz Chun, director of philanthropy for Pali Momi Medical Center and producer/host of the Coach Mack Show.

“No doubt the students enjoyed learning The Hustle, as was clearly evident by their smiles and sheer enjoyment of the moment,” said Sakata, whose sons Zak, 10, and Jet, 5, were among the new generation of disco fans.

“After just the first day that they started to learn the dance steps they were excitedly showing off their moves at home that night,” he added with a laugh. “All the students thoroughly enjoyed having a full day of fun with their classmates, all while getting a good workout.”

But Sakata noted the key to the event was the actual fundraising by all the students, which required them to “hustle” family, relatives and friends for donations.

“Every student was asked to raise a minimum of $100 via donations from family, relatives, friends, as well as corporate sponsors,” he said.

So far the total amount raised stands at $40,437, which will go toward school supplies, testing materials, P.E. and music teacher salaries, security monitoring, air conditioning maintenance, copier lease agreement and maintenance and so on.

Because of the immense success of the Hustle for Health’s premier, the PTG is already looking to continue it as an annual event.

“The fact that the Hustle for Health is able to incorporate fundraising as well as fun and school/parent bonding, we’re already discussing ways to improve for next year,” Sakata said.


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