Tuesday, December 1 , 2015, 6:09 am | Fair 42º

Santa Barbara Middle School Students ‘Pedal and Paddle’ for New Campus

Students keep their sights on a $50,000 goal, part of a larger effort to raise $2.68 million for the move

Santa Barbara Middle School students join Head of School Brian McWilliams for a photo commemorating their “Pedal and Paddle” fundraising effort. McWilliams has promised to sport a purple mohawk hairdo if students meet their $50,000 goal.
Santa Barbara Middle School students join Head of School Brian McWilliams for a photo commemorating their “Pedal and Paddle” fundraising effort. McWilliams has promised to sport a purple mohawk hairdo if students meet their $50,000 goal.  (Santa Barbara Middle School photo)

By Larry Good for Santa Barbara Middle School |

Santa Barbara Middle School students are on a mission to raise $50,000 toward a new campus. If successful, the head of school will sport a purple mohawk hairdo, and to date, the students are more than 60 percent of the way there.

The school’s first-ever “Pedal and Paddle” event will be this Saturday, April 23, and is part of a larger effort to raise $2.68 million in order to get SBMS into the old Jefferson Elementary campus on APS.

“We came up with the pedal and paddle idea because, one, our kids love to ride,” Head of School Brian McWilliams said, “and, 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 with stand-up paddle board or kayak.

“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,” said sixth-grade parent and fundraiser co-chair Tana Kincaid said.

Seventh-grade parent and co-chair Bridget Johnson, who also attended SBMS, said of the students’ 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.”

To solicit sponsors, 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 students are raising money for their school.

Eighth-grader Jessica Good, who has raised more than $300, says it’s so much easier than going door to door. “I can send the email link to family and friends,” she said. “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.”

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

Even ninth-graders such as Curtis Wathne, who will graduate this June and won’t have a chance to be students at the new campus, want to leave something better for future students.

“I want to raise money for a new “Bike Monkey” workshop — one with four work stations,” said Wathne, who has raised nearly $1,500.

Ninth-grader T. J. Lewis, who has raised nearly $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 the ninth-graders “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 making a fashion statement, 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,” McWilliams said. “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.”

So far, the fundraiser has generated nearly $35,000, and the overall capital campaign, “Imagine the Future,” has raised nearly $1.86 million — about 70 percent of its goal.

Click here to pledge for a specific student or to register to participate in Pedal and Paddle.

— Larry Good is a Santa Barbara Middle School parent.

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