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The Daily Tar Heel

Locals Stroll for Schools

Thousands of walkers paraded from McCorkle Place on the UNC campus to Lincoln Center on Merritt Mill Road in support of public education.

Participants in the fourth annual Walk for Education on Saturday represented each of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools as well as Village Charter School, earning money for the school system through donations.

"I just think it's wonderful that so many people came out today," said walker and Carrboro Alderman Allen Spalt. "People say public schools are under assault and troubled, but this is evidence of all the good things going on with public education."

At Saturday's walk, community support translated directly into fund-raising and fun.

By 4:30 p.m., a running total counted by organizers reached $56,000, said Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education member Nicholas Didow, a long-term volunteer with the Public School Foundation, the nonprofit, independent organization sponsoring the event.

"The money was raised prior to the event by students, teachers and staff who collected donations for their schools generally or sometimes for specific school projects," said Carolyn Epstein, executive director of the Public School Foundation.

Walkers took donations before the walk, and participation was upped by incentives provided. For instance, children who collected more than $25 were awarded a free T-shirt.

The school spirit award went to Glenwood Elementary School based on participation. They won a $50 gift certificate.

The foundation will redistribute most of that money to individual schools in the school system based on student participation and donations, Didow said.

But donations raised by walkers were not the only sources of money for participants in the event.

At the post-walk party held on a small field in front of Lincoln Center, school organizations and community support groups sold everything from blooming onions -- fried, with a batter and dipping sauce -- to rides on the moonwalk.

With the exception of a $10 fee, groups running booths at the post-walk party kept all proceeds from their sales, Epstein said.

Raising funds was not the only thing on the minds of Anna Graves and Trudy Wu, though. The two third-graders were not sure what to think of the live music of Chapel Hill-based band, Chasing Glinda, which performed cover versions of songs by artists like the Beatles and Billy Joel.

"I like pop music better -- maybe Britney Spears," Graves said.

"Yeah, Britney Spears is good," Wu said, and then paused for a thought. "Just not those Backstreet bums."

The City Editor can be reached


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