BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN Though the weather might not have been pretty during St. Max Kolbe Catholic School’s Ride for a Reason Saturday, Principal Mary Ziebell called the efforts to collect more than 900 prayer intentions and raise more than $60,000 for the school beautiful.
Families rode “in memory of” or “in honor of” those included in the prayer intentions.
Since early September, students requested prayer intentions and pledges from individuals and businesses throughout the community. All of the funds raised go to the school’s general fund to be used as needed for things like facility needs, textbooks, technology, field trips, and speakers.
“It’s wonderful,” Ziebell said of the community involvement in the fundraiser. “It’s a humbling experience to know we’re so supported by the community. That’s part of why we do prayers, too. We love the community, and we enjoy being an active part of it. This is money we need to stay vital in the community.”
Ride for a Reason is the largest of three annual fundraisers for the school, and every single family that is part of the school participated in it.
New in 2018, all Ride for a Reason participants, as well as members of the St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish at large, took part in an outdoor Mass at Delano Municipal Stadium before the bike ride and walk through the community.
“It was a little chilly, but we probably had 300 people at mass,” Ziebell said.
The idea was born out of an offer from the Parish Sustainability Committee to help organize such an undertaking.
“It was a collaboration between the parish and the school,” Ziebell said.
Throughout the month, St. max students and families are encouraged to reach weekly goals.
Rather than receiving individual tchotchkes for reaching goals, all the students are rewarded with incentives such as a family movie night, pizza party, extended recess, and out of uniform days.
The Knights of Columbus donated a bike to be raffled off for students who collected $1,000 or more in pledges.
The drawing took place Friday, and the winner was Grace Reither.
Because the goal of $55,000 was surpassed, Ziebell will spend a school day in a jail cell in the school. As an added bonus for surpassing the 2017 total of $58,000, “cellmates” from the community will join her, though students will not know who they are until they arrive.
Ride for a Reason in the classroom
Students added the names included in the prayer requests they collected to a large art mural, created by sixth-grade students and staff.
Names included family, friends, and acquaintances of donors; causes and groups, such as hurricane victims, men and women serving in the military overseas, homeless children and families; a better economy; health and vitality of all; success of local businesses; and world peace.
That mural will be displayed near the entrance of the school without the school year as a reminder to students of the people and causes they will keep in their prayers every day.
Ziebell, Father Nathan LaLiberte, and the school’s teachers will also guide the students in a variety of special activities, such as special Masses and daily readings and prayers for the Ride for a Reason prayer intentions throughout the school year.
“We’re really teaching kids to look beyond themselves,” Ziebell said. “ . . . So many people us support us in prayer. This is one of our chances to reach out.”
Area businesses, civic groups provide support
More than 80 area businesses and civic organizations in Delano, Rockford, Loretto, Maple Plain, Watertown, and Buffalo supported Ride for a Reason by donating more than $20,000, and their names were added to the mural.
Students and staff especially appreciate the Knights of Columbus for its donation and for staffing intersections along the bike route to keep the riders safe.
Knights of Columbus also grilled hotdogs as part of a potluck lunch after the ride.
“We are particularly appreciative of the support from so many local businesses and organizations,” Ziebell said. “It’s a testament to how wonderful our communities are.”