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Childen walk with parents in the rain on a city street. Two facing the camera are girls with umbrellas, to the right of them are two women, to the left is a child in a yellow raincoat holding a woman's hand, and in front of that mother and child are two boys in long red T-shirts holding hands with a woman.

Despite rain, Lincoln Elementary students keep walking toward $45,000 goal

on October 24, 2023

Kid-friendly covers of today’s hits echoed through Oakland Chinatown Sunday morning as students walked laps around Lincoln Elementary to raise money for school activities. 

“Good job, dragons,” teachers and volunteers chanted, as the children splashed through the rain. “Keep on walking!”

The goal was to raise $45,000 in Lincoln Elementary’s 14th annual Walk-a-Thon.  Each student found sponsors who pledged a certain amount per lap of the city-block circuit they completed. 

Mukta Sambrani, Lincoln principal, said the fundraiser was started by the PTA to fund extracurriculars like the fifth-grade promotion celebration and art classes.

Sambrani said classes with full participation will get a snack party by the PTA. There is also the “Principal’s Challenge.”

“If we raise our goal amount, then I will dress in Halloween costumes for a week and change my hair color,” Sambrani explained. 

Sambrani will also have a water fight in the park with the class that raises the most money, and individual students who raise the most will spend the day with the principal, swimming, painting and eating dinner.

Gesine Cotteral, a first-grade teacher at Lincoln, said the fundraiser is important because Oakland Unified School District funds don’t cover extra expenses for music lessons and enrichment programs.  

Cotteral said the Walk-a-Thon is also a great community builder for students and their families.

“They get to walk with their friends, families get to hang out, they get to earn prizes and it’s healthy,” Cotteral said. “There are just a lot of fun aspects about this fundraiser.”

Charlotte Khadra, the parent of a third grader and a kindergartener at Lincoln, said her kids were excited to participate. 

“They’ve got school spirit, and the principal, Mrs. Sambrani, does a great job of just always motivating and underlining key messages,” Khadra said. “I feel like that’s really important.”

Khadra said the fundraiser is crucial because of what it provides for the school, but she wishes it wasn’t necessary.

“It breaks my heart that the schools don’t have more money for things that should be included, like art and music and libraries,” Khadra said. “It would be nice if the fundraiser was for super-extra things like extra teacher supplies, which are always needed, and not for things that I think are pretty essential.”

Sambrani said they will not announce the total amount raised until Nov. 3, to give students time to collect money from their sponsors. Last year, the school set a goal of $35,000 and ended up raising $39,000, which is why the goal was upped to $45,000.

(Top photo: Children participate in 14th annual Walk-a-Thon for Lincoln Elementary School, by Becca Duncan)

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