The Importance of the Spartan Race


Having had three children of my own that matriculated through Brainerd Baptist School, I certainly understand how much extra work is involved when the fundraiser packets come home. When my children were at BBS, the fundraisers typically consisted of taking magazines door to door or asking friends and family to purchase cookie dough, gift wrap, cokes, or some other form of merchandise that you really didn’t need, but felt like you had to buy. Our families would work very hard on selling the items, and in the end, our school would profit anywhere from $7,000-$13,000. Although there is nothing wrong with that approach, a few years ago we began thinking about how we could raise funds differently. On the heels of our capital campaign to redo our playground, we conducted a walk-a-thon. The idea was that we could get the kids involved, they would have a great time, and raise money to help us complete construction of the playground. The event was an overwhelming success (raising over $20,000). This success caused us to wonder why couldn’t we do something like this each fall instead of having students selling items? This was about the time the TV show Ninja Warrior was becoming popular. We decided to do our own version of an obstacle race designed with student’s in mind. The thought process would be two-fold: parents wouldn’t have to solicit friends and relatives begging them to purchase random items; and the school would retain a higher percentage of the money collected. In a typical school fundraiser, the school only keeps about 40% of the money taken in. Another added benefit of doing this type of fundraiser is that our students get to enjoy a fun day being physically active outside. Now that I have explained the logic behind our move to this type of fundraiser, let’s talk about the exciting part…the results!

Each year, I meet with Ellen Baggenstoss and we talk through the fundraisers and set goals. There is ALWAYS worry that this may be the year that no one participates! I don’t know why we worry, but we do! Our parents and students respond so well, that you would think that by now we would just trust the process. This year, our Spartan Race has brought in over $33,000! This is AMAZING and we are SO EXCITED to be able to add some things to our school that were desperately needed. The important part for parents to know is that your children will immediately begin to benefit from the money raised. Here are the highlights of the improvements that we are making because of the success of this fundraiser:

  • Fan - I am guessing you have probably heard by now, but we added a 24-foot ceiling fan to our gym. Our gym does not have air conditioning, so this addition has been amazing for our students (and teachers!).

  • New Gym Lights - Our gym had many lights that were not working. We are updating all the lights in the gym to LED lights. We hope to complete this in the next couple of weeks. Our last goal will be to replace the ceiling of the gym as well as add ing noise cancelling panels.

  • ICE CREAM! - You may have also heard that our students have not had ice cream on Wednesdays like they are accustomed to and Mr. Chris has missed serving our students each week terribly. Sadly, our ice cream machine has been broken since the beginning of school. We knew that the ice cream machine was old, but we did not realize it was 35 years old! The new version of the ice cream machine we currently have is around $9,500 (that is a big chunk of money-so we have been patiently waiting to see if we could raise enough to make this huge purchase)! We are now in the market and actively shopping for a replacement for our beloved ice cream machine. We are doing our research and working toward this purchase!

I hope you can see how your involvement in our fundraisers has a DIRECT and IMMEDIATE impact on your child. I know that it can be a bit of a hassle, but all the time and effort you put into it is worth it in the end! We are so blessed by our families believing in what we do and supporting it. I also want to say a HUGE thank you to our parents that helped make this event the success it was - Chairs: Courtney Embry & Phil Grubb (alumni parents), Katie & Tim McBryar (current parents), Builders: Allen Myers (current parent), Josh Woodard (current parent) and Bailey Adams (current/alumni parent).

Sean Corcoran