BE THE HOPE
It’s difficult for any school district to get its elementary, middle school, and high school students working together towards a common goal, but the Kasson-Mantorville school district has done just that through its KoMets versus Cancer series.
Michele Lindquist, advisor of the K-M Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) club, said the series of fundraising games has grown more and more each year, culminating with over $17,000 raised last year.
One way the series has grown, she said, is by adding the wrestling team, dance team, girls’ hockey, gymnastics, and powerlifting teams’ support since girls’ basketball Head Coach Ryan Haraldson started KoMets versus Cancer at least 10 years ago.
With the coaches busy leading their teams, she said, “FCCLA helps run it, and three FCCLA students are the ones who do a lot of the behind the scenes coordinating, such as getting the silent auction baskets.”
In addition to the silent auction, Lindquist said the club raises money through, “Donations from local businesses, we’re selling t-shirts for $10, and the K-M Lions’ Club and K-M Leo Club are doing a meal for $5 [during each teams’ game] and all those proceeds will be donated to KoMets versus Cancer.”
She noted that the funds raised during KoMets versus Cancer goes towards the Dodge County Relay for Life.
Beyond fundraising, she said the FCCLA club gets the school involved by bringing in a speaker, who is also a cancer survivor, to talk to student body about her experience with cancer on Friday, Jan. 24.
The following Friday, Jan. 31, Lindquist said they’re holding a three on three basketball tournament between the different grade levels. The winning team gets to face the K-M staff, “Which is always kind of fun because the kids get to play against their teachers.”
She added that there is a fundraising element to the basketball tournament as the students can pay $1 to get out of advisory to watch the tournament and then all of that money is donated to KoMets versus Cancer.
While the high school offers the most fundraising opportunities, the middle school, elementary school, and community each hold their own fundraisers. She explained that the middle school gets involved by selling suckers throughout the day, the elementary school teachers are trying to hit a certain fundraising goal so they can wear jeans to work, and community education also holds a collection.
“It’s truly a district-wide initiative,” she said.
One of the students leading FCCLA’s involvement in the district-wide initiative is junior Carlee Koehler who got involved with FCCLA because “You do a lot in the community and I enjoy that.”
She said the approximately 60 members of FCCLA have been working to make sure everything runs smoothly at each game.
“We have to get volunteers to attend each game and then you have to get all the auction stuff, like baskets,” she said. “We also reached out to local communities and sports teams to see if they’d want to donate, and then just making sure the sports teams are willing to participate.”
While helping to run a school-wide fundraiser can be a lot of work, she said she’s really liked being a part of it.
“I enjoy it. You put a lot into it, but you get a lot out of it too,” she said.
Lindquist said the Dodge County girls’ hockey team had its KoMets versus Cancer night on Jan. 5, and raised over $1,800. Gymnastics is the next team up with its fundraiser scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 23. They’re followed by the dance team on Tuesday, Jan. 28. K-M wrestling will hold its fundraiser on Thursday, Jan. 30, while girls’ basketball’s will be Friday, Jan. 31. Last, but not least, boys’ basketball will try to put K-M over its $20,000 goal on Tuesday, Feb. 11.