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Best foot forward

September 11, the students of Fredericktown Elementary School hosted its third Annual Track-a-thon.

Fredericktown Elementary School Principal Joe Clauser said the Track-a-thon was an idea Vicki Moyers presented to the staff during her last year of teaching at FES.

Clauser said Moyers presented the idea as a way to get students involved in fundraising in a way which would promote physical activity and student involvement.

“Instead of selling items that only return a portion of the proceeds to the school, Track-a-thon would get students out of the classroom and onto the track to burn some energy, while giving their friends and relatives the chance to give 100 percent of their contribution to the school,” Clauser said. “She said we’d make $5,000 to $7,000 the first year. I basically told her she was crazy. No one dreamed it would be as successful as it continues to be.”

Clauser said Track-a-thon has allowed the school to work with the community to build positive relationships for the success of the students.

“Last year we started using it as an opportunity to connect with and support the community’s first responders on Patriot Day,” Clauser said. “We appreciate how active our first responders are in the community and with our school during the year and wanted to give them the opportunity on the morning of September 11 to get involved with students.”

First responders from Cherokee Pass Fire Department, Madison County Ambulance District, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Fredericktown Police Department, Madison County Sheriff’s Department and Fredericktown Fire Department participated in the event, and some even walked a few laps with students. 

Students had a chance to see an ambulance, fire truck and police car up close and a few even had a chance to try on some equipment and test the police siren.

“Their participation makes a positive impact on our students, many of whom may have negative impressions of some of their departments because of events in the past,” Clauser said. “We also line the track with posters that our classes create to show our appreciation for their service.”

Clauser said the funds raised support improvements to the playground.

“We have purchased new equipment and concrete bases for resurfacing,” Clauser said. “In the last three years, we have received funding from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources through the Playground Scrap Tire Material Grant.”

Clauser said three grants have paid for rubber surfacing to improve safety around some of the playground equipment and one grant was used to purchase benches and picnic tables for outdoor learning areas.

“In the first year, we raised over $7,000 and the second year, Vicki combined our student’s fundraising with a grant from Modern Woodmen of America to cross the $10,000 mark,” Clauser said. “One hundred percent of those contributions have gone straight toward providing better opportunities for our students outdoors.”

Clauser said Moyers has been very instrumental in raising funds for FES through both fundraising efforts and grant writing to make these playground improvements possible.

“I appreciate the dedication she has shown to our students and our school event after she retired,” Clauser said. “She was determined to show that Track-a-thon was a productive way to raise money, get students involved, and build relationships with parents and the community, and that’s exactly what it’s done.”

Clauser said he would also like to thank the first responders for their participation, all the volunteers who helped set up, tear down and count student laps, Madison County Chamber of Commerce for donating water, Country Mart for donating popsicles and the FES custodians, teachers and parents for their support of Track-a-thon.

Austin Renk (left) and Wilson Dietiker walk their laps together during the 3rd Annual FES Track-a-thon, Sept. 11, as Trevor Griffon runs to catch up. 

Austin Renk (left) and Wilson Dietiker walk their laps together during the 3rd Annual FES Track-a-thon, Sept. 11, as Trevor Griffon runs to catch up. 

Emma Griffon tests the sirens in Fredericktown Police Officer Ethan Nicholson's patrol car. 

Emma Griffon tests the sirens in Fredericktown Police Officer Ethan Nicholson’s patrol car. 

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at

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