Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Hundreds Come Out for Oxford School's Charger Challenge

Photo by Marlen Polito.

If you needed proof that Oxford is a kid-friendly town, you simply had to spend a little time at the 4th Annual Charger Challenge on Saturday.  Hundreds of families came out for the annual fall celebration of Oxford schools.
“My 7-year-old won a sack race, both my girls got their faces painted, but you know what? Maybe seeing the Chargerettes dance was the best. Oh, and having Ole Miss track here,” said Amber Grey.
Students from the Ole Miss track team, the baseball team and the Honors College were just some of dozens of volunteers from the university who gave up hours on a Saturday to help make sure the children had a good time.
“We got a lot of great volunteers,” said Camie Bianco, president of the Oxford School District Foundation, which organizes the festival. “We want to thank the community and the school district for supporting us and making this event possible.”
Photo by Deb Wenger.
Photo by Deb Wenger.

One of the highlights of the event was the K-9 demonstration.  Jack, a Dutch Shepherd, wowed a crowd of about 75 parents and kids with his sniffing and tracking abilities.  Fire trucks and police cars garnered lots of attention, too, along with bounce houses, photo and dunking booths as well as a coloring table — all manned by people donating their time.
Absolutely a lot of fun,” said Oxford mom Julie Thompson.  “I’m here for the kids really to get out here and just let them run wild and have a good time.”
OSDF created Charger Challenge as a way to bring the schools and the community together, but it’s also an opportunity to promote the organization to families with children in the Oxford School District.
“The organization started over 25 years ago,” said Bianco. “It was just a group of people in the community that wanted to be able to get things for teachers that they couldn’t get through district funding.”
Over the years, OSDF has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to put back into the school district.  From a sound system for the band to books to special microscopes and calculators, students in all types of classes have benefited from OSDF grants.
“We ask our teachers to be creative and come up with different things, whatever they need in their classroom that they can’t get from the district; we try to be able to help them,” Bianco said.
Photo by Marlen Polito.
Photo by Marlen Polito.

Whatever the reason for the event, parents like Sara Mollins are just glad that Charger Challenge will be back again next year.
“I think it’s great the kids are enjoying themselves. It is a great place for family.”
Ole Miss journalism graduate student Marlen Polito contributed to this story.

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