LOUISBURG — Rockville Elementary Principal Emily Fleming was over the moon about how much money her K-2 students raised during the walk-a-thon.

Make that over the roof.

She spent one night on the roof of Rockville after kids raised nearly triple what they normally do for the school’s annual walk-a-thon.

“On average our students typically raise right around $8,000 for the walk-a-thon,” Fleming said. “So this year I told the kids if they made that goal of raising $8,000 they could spray me with Silly String.”

Fleming then went one step further.

“I gave them a stretch goal of $10,000,” she said. “If they reached $10,000 I would sleep on the roof of Rockville. They either just really loved the idea of that, or hate me because they raised over $20,000 in a walk-a-thon. $20,000!”

Fleming received applause intermixed with laughter from the audience as she shared her story with the school board at their October meeting.

“It’s incredible. I was blown away by the support of the community and how excited the kids were,” Fleming said. “So I slept on the roof of Rockville. Lots of families showed up to cheer me on. Somebody brought a karaoke machine, and there was kind of a little party out in the parking lot.”

Fleming set up a Kansas City Chiefs lawn chair and a tent with blue reflective lights on it for the Sept. 28 rooftop event.

“The kids couldn’t believe that I actually slept up there,” she said. “Half the kids were really excited like, ‘Can I come up and sleep on the roof next time?’ And the other half of the kids were very worried about me.”

Fleming shared a few of the students’ questions.

“How are you going to go to the bathroom? Are you going to have something to eat? Will you sleep in a tent? Are you going to be warm enough? Is the ladder you’re climbing metal or wood? Because if it’s made out of wood it might break, and then how are you going to get down?”

Fleming said it ended up being a beautiful evening, and she took some photos of a gorgeous sunset.

“If I was going to have to sleep on the roof, it was a great night to do it,” she said.

School board President Rob Vohs offered another observation.

“I think $20,000 would have been two nights,” he said to laughter from the audience.

The board asked Fleming what the school intended to do with the money.

“We were not anticipating that kind of money so we weren’t super prepared with ideas,” Fleming said. “I asked some of our second-graders. I thought, ‘well they’re old enough they could give some ideas.’”

Fleming said on reflection she’s not sure if the students are going to have great input into how the funds are spent.

“The thing they were all really on board with was an ice cream machine for the cafeteria so they could have some soft serve after lunch every day,” she said. “So I don’t know that that’s what we are going to spend money on.”

She said some of the funds will be used to put sun shades over the top of the school’s beautiful new playground, likely in the spring.

“If you come to Rockville during recess on a hot day kids are like huddled under the structure because it gets so warm out there,” she said. “We thought getting some sun shades for over the top of our playground is probably how we’ll spend a good chunk of that money, so it’s a little more comfortable for them out there while they play.”

Fleming said her stay on the roof likely was a limited engagement.

“I don’t know if I will ever promise that again,” she said. “But it was clearly a good motivator.”

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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