“Pedal and Paddle” at Santa Barbara Middle School

Students Ride the Streets and the Sea to Raise Money

SBMS Head of School Brian McWilliams (back right) and a group of students

Santa Barbara Middle School students are on a mission to raise $50,000 toward their new campus. If successful, Head of School Brian McWilliams will sport a purple Mohawk. To date, students are more than 60 percent of the way there.

The first annual SBMS “Pedal and Paddle” event will be this Saturday morning, April 23. It is part of a larger effort to raise $2.68 million in order to get SBMS into the old Jefferson Elementary campus on Alameda Padre Serra.

“We came up with the ‘Pedal and Paddle’ idea because, one, our kids love to ride,” said McWilliams. “Two, they are all about getting in the ocean. It’s our theme for this year.” The “Pedal and Paddle” fundraiser includes an eight-mile ride starting and ending at Goleta Beach, then an optional paddle on a stand-up paddleboard or in a kayak.

Sixth grade parent, Tana Kincaid, who is the fundraiser co-chair, said, “It’s so ironic; we’re such a bike-riding school and yet we’ve never done a fundraiser where the kids go out and bike.” Think bike-a-thon.

Seventh grade parent, Bridget Johnson, who is not only the other co-chair, but who also attended SBMS, says of the kids’ web-based fundraising efforts, “It empowers the kids. They share their middle school experiences, what middle school means to them, what they hope to see on the new campus, and it’s a great way to reach a lot of people.”

The way in which students are soliciting sponsors is cutting edge. SBMS has teamed up with locally based Givezooks.com to create an email link between students and potential donors. As part of the campaign, each student has written a letter for his or her potential donors to read, explaining why they are trying to raise money for their school.

Eighth grader Jessica Good said that it’s so much easier than going door to door. “I can send the email link to family and friends. They can use a credit card or send a check in the mail. If I were going door to door I wouldn’t be able read my letter.” Jessica has raised over $300.

Seventh grader Alex Bollag has raised nearly $1,400. His feelings about SBMS are that the school “is more like a community than a school.” Seventh grader Ryder Mosby, who was new to SBMS this year, wrote in her letter, “SBMS is like my home away from home. They welcomed me like I was an old friend.” She has raised more than $800.

Even ninth graders like Curtis Wathne who will graduate this June and therefore not have a chance to be a student on the new campus want to leave something better for future students. Said Curtis, “I want to raise money for a new “Bike Monkey” workshop; one with four work stations.” Wathne has raised nearly $1,500. Fellow ninth grader T. J. Lewis, who has raised almost $400, said, “I hope to raise money so that other kids can benefit the way I did by going to SBMS.”

Upper school English teacher, Jesse Wooten, said that the ninth graders understand their role to serve. “They realize that “Pedal and Paddle” is an opportunity to give back to a school that has given them so much.”

Although he may not be looking forward to a new personal fashion statement, Head of School McWilliams has promised to exhibit a purple Mohawk if the students reach their goal of $50,000. “One of the advantages of this kind of event, is it’s a community builder,” said McWilliams. “This year it’s about us, but in the future, “Pedal and Paddle” will be a vehicle for raising money for other causes because we are always looking for ways to serve others beyond our campus.”

As of this post, Santa Barbara Middle School’s “Pedal and Paddle” fundraiser has generated nearly $35,000, and the overall capital campaign, “Imagine the Future,” has raised nearly $1.86 million, almost 70 percent of its goal.

If you would like to pledge to a specific student or register yourself to participate in Pedal and Paddle, go to sbms.givezooks.com/events/pedal-paddle-to-our-future-2011.


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