Santa Fe Trail students ‘walk’ across Kansas to raise funds for school

Sixth graders kicked off the Santa Fe Trail 'Walk Across Kansas'
Sixth graders kicked off the Santa Fe Trail ‘Walk Across Kansas’

Santa Fe Trail students took their school’s name literally Friday as a method to raise more than $12,000 to fund field trips.

The 287 students at the elementary school at 71st and Lamar took turns walking 417 miles, the length of Kansas, for the fourth consecutive year. Their school is named after the famous old west trail that crossed the state and cut through northeast Johnson County.

“As Kansas cuts more funding every year, we have to make up for it,” said Jocelyn Bennett, president of the PTA. “Our goal is to raise enough money to pay for field trips.”

Each child, from Kindergarten through sixth grade, walked 1.7 miles, 15 times around the asphalt playground behind the school, to fulfill pledges they received from parents and friends. Pre-schoolers served as cheerleaders.

Volunteers were there to encourage them as well as Scoopie, the mascot of Culver’s, one of the sponsors, and K.C. Wolf, the mascot of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Organizers of the Santa Fe Trail fundraiser were (from left) Jill Hrabe, Jocelyn Bennett, Rachelle Tracz and Jenny Behrens.
Organizers of the Santa Fe Trail fundraiser were (from left) Jill Hrabe, Jocelyn Bennett, Rachelle Tracz and Jenny Behrens.

Rock music played from a donated sound system, and each child received a water bottle and a special T-shirt. Kids also got a post-walk snack, and the adult volunteers and supporters had donated coffee and pastries.

Joleen Babcock, 11, a sixth grader said was walking because it was fun. The kids got to take a half hour off from class to walk their shift.

“I’ve crossed Kansas in a car and it’s really far,” she said. “We’re not ever going half way.”

Jill Hrabe, co-chair, said field trips the walk will help fund include trips to the pumpkin patch, Science City, a tour of Kansas City, a visit to the Star Base STEM program, and a trip to the Timber Ridge team-building obstacle course.

“And since they raised over $10,000 the students will get to see their principal, Ms. (Kristal) Leiker, kiss a chicken at their awards assembly next week,” Hrabe said.

Scoopie encourages walkers on their trek across Kansas
Scoopie encourages walkers on their trek across Kansas
K.C. Wolf shows the way to one Santa Fe Trail student.
K.C. Wolf shows the way to one Santa Fe Trail student.