RIVER CLUB -- Judging by all the delighted squeals and laughter, the fourth annual Wild About Learning Walk-A-Thon was a big hit Thursday at Braden River Elementary School.
Students were able to burn off energy and to get out of the classroom for a little while.
It was also the payoff for the school's largest fundraiser of the year, which traditionally raises about $15,000 to buy technology, supplies and training.
Principal Hayley Rio, who led the students on the walkathon, said proceeds this year will be used to buy 50 Microsoft Surface tablets and build the classroom library.
Having one big fundraiser a year, rather than several smaller ones, is more convenient for families, she said.
"It's better than selling cookie dough and wrapping paper," Rio said.
Linda Applegate, a teacher's aide, said she was having as much fun as the students.
"This is fun and it gets better as the day goes on," Applegate said.
The finale of the 1-mile walk included a run through a tent filled with inflated balls, parrots, snakes and other creatures, and then a pause for a frozen treat. Before moving back to their classrooms, students had a chance to show off their dance moves on an outdoor pavilion as pulsing music played.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter@jajones1