Jenna Koppinger wants to make a difference in her community, so the Port Huron Northern junior is stepping up to help her school.
Koppinger — a standout basketball and soccer player for the Huskies — organized a walk-a-thon to raise money for Northern’s Fund Our Floor campaign. The campaign is attempting to raise $120,000 to go toward a new gym floor at Northern.
“I think that as a younger community member, it’s important to get involved,” Koppinger said. “It’s almost like taking a personal initiative to make it a better place to live. I thought that me doing so might inspire other students to do so and to make this town a better place.”
The walk-a-thon starts at 9 a.m. at Port Huron Northern. Participants will walk from Northern to Holland Woods and back. They are collecting donations in the form of pledges, as people can either donate a flat amount or an amount per kilometer that the participants walk. Pledge forms can be found at phnhuskies.com.
Koppinger said she wanted a fundraising idea that could involve a lot of people, which is where the walk-a-thon came into play. She said it allows students, not only from the high school, but from lower levels, as well, to get involved.
“I’m expecting about 100 athletes from Northern, and there should be about 50 from Holland Woods and Fort Gratiot (middle schools),” Koppinger said. “Members of the Fort Gratiot and Northern bands will be there, too.”
Throughout the process, she’s had help from Northern Athletic Director Jason Kasparian and Port Huron Area School District Director of Community Relations/Marketing Keely Baribeau. Fellow students —Kiana Votava, Kendyl Keyes, Sami Klink and Riley Shagena — have also helped the cause.
Koppinger said there was no specific monetary goal in mind, but she was hopeful of getting the remainder of the $10,000 the school was looking for in community donations. That number is a little more than $4,000.
The deadline for the campaign is Oct. 2, and nine corporate sponsors have donated $10,000 apiece — Kelly Law Firm, Lake Huron Medical Center, McLaren Port Huron, SEMCO Energy, Talmer Bank and Trust, Ted’s Coney Island, Zimmer Roofing and Construction, Michigan Driving School and the Northern athletic boosters.
A new gym floor is something Koppinger would only be able to play on for one year, but she said it’s about much more than that.
“Northern’s gym floor is really like the heart of the school,” she said. “It hosts an enormous amount of athletes, band members, and it’s kind of what everybody is being directed onto when they come into the school.
“The younger kids play on it, and there are a lot of youth sports going on. We just had our 50-year anniversary, and this is going to be a new chapter.”
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.
Fund Our Floor walk-a-thon
When: 9 a.m. Saturday
Where: Starts in front of Port Huron Northern, and participants will walk to Holland Woods Middle School and back
Donate: For information on the event, or to download a pledge form, visit phnhuskies.com.