Four elementary schools hold simultaneous Read-A-Thons for first time, raising $98,750 for PTAs


The four Pelham elementary schools aligned the timing of their annual fundraising Read-A-Thons to run from Jan. 17 to Feb. 3 this year, a first for the event.

Overall, the four schools raised $98,750 for their PTAs, with students reading for 770,616 minutes, or 12,843 hours.

Launched at Colonial Elementary School a few years ago, the Read-A-Thons expanded to all four schools. Last fall, a community engagement committee was formed by PTA Council President Annemarie Garcia with a goal of aligning existing events at the elementary schools.

“The Read-A-Thon was the first one that came to mind,” said Katie Caufield, Prospect Hill Elementary School chairwoman of the Read-A-Thon. Caufield was the main coordinator for the four Read-A-Thons coinciding.

“My hope initially was that we could just get the word out to families in the community who may no longer have an elementary school student but would be interested in donating or supporting a Read-a-Thon either at the school in their neighborhood or the school that their children went to,” said Kim Melloy, Hutchinson Elementary School PTA co-president.

According to Melloy, the Read-A-Thons were previously run separately to support each of the school’s specific PTA budgets. However, synchronizing the separate events allowed the schools to promote them together as a group in the hope of collecting more funds. The donations were made through the 99Pledges website, as in the past, either as a flat gift or through sponsoring a specific student.

The PTA budgets vary by school each year. This year, the elementary PTAs have funded a gaga pit, a chess program, science assemblies and cultural arts programs.

“The Read-A-Thons are great fundraisers for the school PTAs and fundraising is how PTA programming happens,” said Melloy. “I know for Hutchinson that this is our biggest fundraiser for the year, so this is where most of our fundraising dollars come from, so I think letting the community know that they can give back even without having an elementary student, is a way they can give back to whichever elementary school they feel they are affiliated with in the community.”

At Hutchinson, a chart of books that were read was constantly updated with how many minutes students had read. The lion mascot at Prospect Hill gave out rewards to the students, including different colored minute milestone tassels. At Siwanoy Elementary School, students were interviewed based on their reading to give book recommendations to their peers.

“We just wanted to promote reading and create a sense of community by having a shared experience for all the students in the elementary schools,” said Caufield.