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Rally time as WES

Last May, Westside Elementary School installed and christened playground equipment funded by the school’s annual Tiger Rally.

In fact, the last three Tiger Rallies have helped fund the playground equipment and the fencing around it.

With that project completed, teachers, parents and students go into Friday’s Tiger Rally with eyes wide open and hopes set high.

“This year, we’re getting Smart boards and and other technology items from the school system,” WES principal Connie Brown said, “but we’ll certainly look at something like that.”

The Tiger Rally is a fundraiser in which Westside students receive pledges based on the number of exercises they do during the Tiger Rally event, including an obstacle course, jumping jacks and laps around a course. Community members make pledges as well as donations to help the school reach its goals.

Last year Brown said the school raised $12,000 and $13,000 the year before. With the 2011 economic outlook not much improved from 2010, Brown said she’s set her expectations on achievable goals.

“With the economy like it is, if we can raise $10,000 I would not be disappointed,” she said.

Brown was quick to point out that the annual event was not “just another fundraiser”, that the festivities provide one of the largest annual supplements to Westside Elementary each year.

“Every penny stays right here,” she said.

And while the fundraising aspect is certainly one of the most important aspects of the rally, it’s not the only important aspect.

“The children have 15 minutes to earn as many activity checks as they can,” she said. “And the activities are physical, so it promotes physical fitness as well.”

This year’s Tiger Rally kicks off Friday at 10 a.m. with the first grade. Second grade follows at 11:05 a.m. and kindergartners will begin at 12:10 p.m.

Parents are welcome to attend the event and cheer on their students.

Students who raise the most money are awarded prizes. Overall first place winner receives a 19-inch LCD HDTV with DVD player. Second place is awarded an 18-inch Razor Freestyle Bicycle and each grade-level winner receives a Razor scooter.