It’s a Charger Challenge for Oxford School District teachers to buy supplies that would help creatively enhance their curriculum. That’s why an event with the same name was recently held to raise awareness about the need to support area schools and educators.
On Sept. 20, the newly renovated Oxford Middle School hosted the fourth annual back-to-school Charger Challenge. As soon as families and sponsors stepped onto the field, they were met by Oxford School District Foundation volunteers. An estimated 250 to 300 people attended.
Along with bounce houses, activities and fun games, were Ole Miss Track and Field Team members. Sporting gear, the athletes competed with kids in relay races, and taught children field events.
“They try to get athletes out here to promote our sport and get kids active,” said senior and heptathlete Fabia McDonald. “As we know, activity is not a priority for kids nowadays, so we are trying to help make that change.”
After setting up a shot put field, parents watched as their kids were coached one-on-one by coach Mariam Kevkhishvili-Machavariani, a former Olympian and NCAA shot put champion, along with team thowers.
Relay races were also held with college athletes competing with children on a small make-shift track that attracted a large crowd.
“The kids have been really enthusiastic,” said junior Anthony Branch. “I raced the same two kids a good 10 times. They smoked me a couple times. It hurt my feelings, but other than that, there was pretty good competition.”
The Charger Challenge serves another purpose. Due to the underfunded school district, it is a challenge for teachers to afford creative curriculum for their students. But with the Oxford community’s support, led by Oxford School District Foundation volunteers, this has become possible.
One example of the OSDF’s success was a greenhouse they funded to teach children a grow-your-own-food biology curriculum.
“All we do is try to raise that money to make those classes possible,” said board member and Special Events Co-Chair Desiree Hensley. “This is just a good way to spread the word about what we do and, hopefully, at some point, generate more support for the kids.”