(Laura Simon) [Order this photo]
On Wednesday, the gym of Alma Schrader Elementary was completely full of volunteers and students working one-on-one to answer 100 questions the students practiced for months to answer.
Knowledge-A-Thon was held for the third consecutive year at the school, this time raising more than $11,000 for the school's PTO.
Students raise money for the event by asking friends and family members for pledges during a campaign, said Jacquie Maxton, who organized the event with help from parents, teachers, volunteers from the community and the school's volunteer reading program coordinator, Monique Johnson.
During the event, students are asked to answer 100 grade-level questions related to the school's curriculum. Students study for the tests at home and are offered tutoring sessions in the weeks leading up to the event.
Maxton said the event is a good alternative to other PTO fundraisers schools often hold, like sales of cookie dough, candy and holiday items.
"If you are going to be raising money and you can tie it to learning, that's what we are for," she said.
Maxton is a member of the school's PTO and brought the idea for the event with her when she and her family moved to Cape Girardeau six years ago from Wisconsin, where she had heard about successful fundraising for PTOs using the campaign.
Cape Christian School and St. Paul Lutheran School in Jackson are also using the campaign, she said, and recently Jackson's public elementaries and Clippard Elementary have showed interest in a Knowledge-A-Thon event.
Maxton said schools can hold the event as long as volunteers can be found to help students prepare and administer the tests on event day.
Procter & Gamble sent 13 managers as volunteers Wednesday. There were also many senior citizens who volunteered, as well as members of local churches and employees of small local businesses, Maxton said.
Alma Schrader principal Ruth Ann Orr said she likes the event because of how it relates to what students should be learning and doesn't just ask them to memorize trivia. All the schools' students in kindergarten through fourth grades participate in the event. Some questions are tailored to the local community, such as "Who is the mayor of Cape Girardeau?" for third-graders. Questions also deal with many school subjects, including math, reading, science, history, social studies, music and health.
The PTO uses funds it raises through the events at Alma Schrader to help honor requests of teachers for needed and special classroom items and equipment and fund field trips, like the annual trip the school's fourth-graders make to the state Capitol.
1360 Randol Ave., Cape Girardeau, MO