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Eagles take flight for tuition

POULSBO — Christ the King Academy teacher Jody Clark equates her school’s marathon fund-raiser this Saturday to that of Christian missionaries all over the world.

This one just happens to be a little closer to home.

“(The students) are doing missionary work,” Clark said of the marathon. “They’re helping to keep Christian education affordable for their parents.”

That is the goal of the 14th annual CKA marathon, held this Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. at the school. The event aims to raise $15,000 this year, which would equal the amount the school brought in during the 2003 event.

The fund-raiser will benefit the school’s general fund, which includes money for textbooks, athletic equipment and computers, among other things.

And it is truly a student-centered event — on average, a staggering 90 percent or so of CKA’s students have participated in years past.

“The kids really raise the money in the event,” said CKA Physical Education teacher Nick Gilman. “They’re thankful for their Christian education and this is their opportunity to raise funds for their school.”

Gilman, who has been in charge of the event for seven years running, said the marathon’s 5-mile route will again take students along Lemolo Shore Drive, starting from CKA and going all the way to Lemolo and back. Each participant can walk, ride a bicycle or rollerskate and do as many laps between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. as they choose. A barbecue will also take place at the school during which participants and non-participants alike can gather for the event.

Students — who last year numbered 115 out of the school’s total 130 or so population — really dig deep for the event, Clark added.

“It’s so exciting to see them work so hard for something,” Clark said. “It also is a way for them to get to know other students, especially those in different grades.”

The overall goal is to keep the cost of tuition down at the school, Gilman commented.

“The purpose of the marathon is to keep the tuition low,” he said. “Private schools must have fund-raisers to keep the tuition viable for parents.”

Students have been fund-raising for their marathon pledges at the school for three weeks, including four themed days that help bring a little incentive for them along the way. Each student who had $100 in pledges Sept. 27 received an ice cream bar; each with $200 by Oct. 4 received a candy bar; each with $300 by today receives a hot fudge sundae; and each with $400 by Oct. 8 gets a free lunch with Gilman to Dairy Queen.

Gilman said that each year, a handful of students achieve the $400 goal to earn the opportunity to be taken out for lunch.

Students can raise money for the cause in one of two ways: have pledges on a “per mile” basis or receive a flat donation. Gilman said he encourages the students to accept flat donations to better accommodate each donor’s individual budget.

The school annually puts together three fund-raisers to help subsidize tuition — the fall marathon, the dessert hour in the winter and the CKA auction in the spring. But the marathon is entirely different, Gilman said, from the other two events later in the year.

“This one’s run by the students themselves,” he said.

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