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Preston Smith Elementary, Lubbock, TX

At Preston Smith Elementary, School Walk for Diabetes (SWFD) is not only an annual fund raiser for students, but entertainment for teachers as well. After 12 years of participation and more than $106,000 raised, Dennis Carpenter has made SWFD a rewarding experience for his entire school community.

Preston Smith Elementary was one of the first schools in the nation to hold a SWFD event. Carpenter, a PE teacher at Preston Smith, was first attracted to SWFD when he realized it offered a greater return than any other school fund raiser. Each participating school that raises at least $1,000 gets up to 15 percent back for physical education equipment or school medical supplies. Preston Smith did not have a good supply of PE equipment, so he saw SWFD as a great way to raise money for a worthy cause and earn equipment for his school.

Carpenter and the other PE teachers at Preston Smith encourage students to fund raise by offering creative incentives. Initially, they offered a free PE period or trip to the park for the winning class. One year, the PE teachers let the top fund raisers throw pies at them! Another year they had an “extreme makeover” where the winning class got to dress the teachers however they wanted. Each year, the school manages to match or increase what they raised the previous year as a result of these inspiring incentives.

Carpenter is proud to say that because of SWFD, the school now has “one of the most well-stocked equipment rooms in the district.” They have received about $1,500 worth of PE equipment from US Games, including basketballs, footballs, kickballs, soccer goals, and a stereo system: all things the school's budget wouldn't normally cover. They have even started giving away equipment to other schools in the district.

Whether it's US Games Certificates, pies in the face, or building a sense of community, students and teachers alike look forward to participating in SWFD each year. As soon as they start talking about SWFD in September, students at Preston Smith Elementary let out a big cheer, and the fun and games begin!

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