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2021 Walk-A-Thon raises over $22,000 for local senior scholarships

The 2021 Walk-A-Thon was another record setting event. Saturday’s gloomy weather did not affect the attendance of this annual Education Foundation of Gilchrist County event. When the final count of funds raised was totaled a new record of $22,419.00 was set. Last year’s Walk-A-Thon was also a record breaker raising $20,008.00.
Before the winners were announced Ed Foundation President Damon Leggett welcomed all to the event and the opening ceremony began with the Bell JROTC presenting the colors. Members of Bell JROTC include Lee Ann Thomas, Mark Exidine, Victoria Cannon, Lela Clecker and Ty Powell.
Seniors from Bell and Trenton High participated in the opening ceremony. Trenton Senior Lillian Wilkerson lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Wilkerson was a part of the 2019 Softball State Championship team. She has been a part of the Student Government Association since 7th grade. Her future plans include majoring in Health Science while attending Florida Gateway College where she will be attending on a softball scholarship.
Shelbi Cooper a Bell High Senior prayed at opening ceremonies for the Walk-A-Thon. Cooper is a Varsity Cheerleader, officer in HOSA, FCA and BETA. She is the Florida BETA State Secretary, and homecoming queen. She plans to attend the University of Florida after graduation from BHS.
Steven Wright played the National Anthem on his baritone. Wright is a Senior at Trenton High School. Steven has been a band member since the 6th grade. He has been a member of the North Florida Honor Band since 7th grade. After graduation he will join the Army where he plans to serve his country. Afterward he plans to finish his college education.
During the event all the County’s Teachers of the Year were given a Ed Foundation check of $800.00 to use in their classroom. The winning teachers were Brad Surrency from Bell High, Katie West of Bell Elementary, Tammy Sudigala of Trenton High, and Christy Russel from Trenton Elementary.
Employees of the Year were Cindy Driggers of Trenton High, Herbie Brown of Trenton Elementary, John Sloan of Bell High and Tabatha Ritchey of Bell Elementary. From the District Bob McDonough and Jana Kight were the Employees of the Year. Each of the Employees of the Year received a check for $200 from the Education Foundation.
Bell Middle/High School was the Walk-A-Thon’s largest fund raising team with $5,145.00 raised. Bell was followed by Trenton Middle/High School which raised $4,291.00. Bell Elementary raise $3,610.00 for the event and Trenton Elementary raised $2,830.00.
The Business which raised the most money was Capital City Bank. Capital City has won this honor many times before. Other businesses which had teams and raised funds for the event were Drummond Community Bank, Suncoast Credit Union, Gilchrist County Courthouse, and the Gilchrist School District Office.
All total, it was a great fund raising event for the County’s High School Seniors. Many of whom will receive a Education Foundation scholarship when they graduate.
Damon Leggett thanked the many people who helped make the 2021 Walk-A-Thon such a successful event. Leggett thanked the City of Trenton for the use of the Trenton Train Depot, Manatee Springs Administration and the Nature Coast State Trail for the use of the Greenway. He also went on to thank Hitchcock’s Market for providing refreshments again this year. The Gilchrist County Journal was thanked for photos and publicity. Leggett also thanked Palms Medical Group and Smith Law Firm/Smith Asset Management for sponsoring the 5K Fun Run and Central Florida Electric Coop for overseeing set up for the 5K Fun Run.
The next big fund raiser will be the Scholarship Showdown, planned for August.
Students who are interested in learning more about the scholarships offered by the Ed Foundation can go to Gilchristeducationfoundation.org or call Marti Smith at 352-262-1829.