CRESTVIEW — An Antioch Elementary School fundraiser has sparked some concern about students’ self esteem.
An Antioch student's parent was shocked when she received a permission form for the school's Homecoming Court, a fundraiser organized by the Parent Teacher Organization. For the benefit, students who raise the most money win crowns. The parent wanted to remain anonymous but her friend, Cheri Buckmaster, wanted answers from the school.
“Just wondering what is going on at Antioch Elementary School,” Buckmaster said. “Money over students' self esteem? May the rich folks win and forget about the ones that don't have any money. This is the worst idea I have seen coming from a school; they need to put themselves in detention.
“I understand the schools needing funds, but surely there is a way where all students are winners and there are no losers.”
According to the flyer, each class nominates a girl and a boy; the student who raises the most money wins a crown that will be awarded the morning of Sept. 22. There are two categories: kindergarten to second grade will compete for homecoming prince or princess, and third to fifth grade will compete for king or queen. Each grade level's winners will represent the school as part of the homecoming court.
The prince, princess, king and queen will receive large crowns, whereas court members who also participated will receive small crowns. The winners and the court will be featured in the yearbook and invited to ride in a float during the Crestview High School homecoming parade.
According to a sheet sent home to parents, each child will be allowed to place a container in the lunchroom until Sept. 20 and classmates may place change in the containers for the nominee of their choice. Students may also place containers at local businesses, and community members may sponsor the children.
All money collected will go toward classroom improvements, according to the handout.
A News Bulletin reporter contacted Antioch Elementary on Sept. 12 and 13 and never received a call back. When the reporter contacted the school again on Sept. 14, the administration declined to comment on the subject.
According to Henry Kelley, the Okaloosa County School District's director of community affairs, all fundraisers have to be approved at a district level and the school board has certain rules in place for fundraisers.
“The fundraiser was conducted in accordance with school board policy, and parents always have the option to opt in or opt out of a school’s fundraiser,” Kelley said.
Buckmaster said she tried contacting the school and members of the school board, but never heard back. She also posted a message on the school district’s Facebook page, but she said she could not find it on the page after posting it.
Yet her concern remains.
“They have enough competition in middle and high school; why start this early with these sweet innocent children,” Buckmaster said.
“They are too young to learn money talks.”