West Middle Schoolers organize 5K, carnival to fund marquee

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Members of Student Council will launch a new tradition this spring while raising money for an outdoor sign at West Middle School.

They plan an inaugural 5K run and school carnival to pay for the marquee with the hope of making the events an annual fundraiser and community get-together.


On Monday morning, StuCo members were busy designing flyers for the May event. A silent auction, concessions and games are on tap. Games will include carnival-like activities such as a soda toss, cake-and-candy walk, henna or temporary tattoo station, fishing game, music, hair-braiding booth, dunk tank and maybe even a chance to throw a pie in an educator’s face.

Cooper Stoetzner, a WMS sixth-grader, said the bulk of funds raised would go toward the purchase of a nearly $7,000 changeable lawn sign. Similar to the marquee in front of nearby Sunflower Elementary School, the sign would provide benefits to the entire neighborhood and school community, he said.

“Anyone who drives by will be able to see the marquee and learn about events.”

Tricia Masenthin/The Lawrence Times This marquee in front of Sunset Hill Elementary is similar to the changeable letter sign West Middle School’s Student Council hopes to purchase with fundraiser money.

With a small amount of money already raised from school dances, cash raised beyond the cost of the sign will go toward future eighth grade trips.

“This is our first time, but we hope to make it an annual event for the community,” Cooper said.

Cooper invited all to attend the 5K and carnival and “support the community, support West students, enjoy a fun time and get some exercise.”

“There is a walking version for those that choose, and we will have maps available for a shorter version if people desire. The track will also be open for people to walk.”

The benefit 5K begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 7, with the carnival to follow from 10 a.m. to noon at WMS, 2700 Harvard Road.


The 5K will be held outdoors, rain or shine. The entry fee is $5 for students and $10 for non-students. Participants can sign up at this link, or scan the QR code on the flyer below.

In case of inclement weather, all carnival activities will be moved indoors. Game tickets cost $1 each or $20 for an unlimited games bracelet.

Student-leaders also seek donated gift cards, silent auction items, shelf-stable baked items, candy and 2-liter sodas. Community members who’d like to donate can deliver those items to the school’s office through Friday, May 6, or email StuCo sponsor and WMS teacher Jessica Miescher-Lerner to make arrangements at

Tricia Masenthin/The Lawrence Times Seventh graders Olivia Storey, left, and Sarai Preston make flyers on April 11, 2022 for West Middle School’s spring 5K and carnival.
Tricia Masenthin/The Lawrence Times Collaborating on plans for West Middle School’s 5K and carnival are sixth graders, standing from left, Cooper Stoetzner, Elizabeth Davis and Kat Wopsock. Seated are Elijah Moneymaker and Harrison Leiszler.
Contributed/West Middle School A flyer for West Middle School’s 5K and carnival contains a scannable QR code for signups.
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Tricia Masenthin (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at tmasenthin (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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