MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Trinity Christian School had to make their annual Hoop-A-Thon fundraiser virtual due to the school being closed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Olivia Kelley, Trinity’s fundraising and community relations coordinator, said how the event normally works is students are sponsored by donors who pay per basket made, minute hula hooped or just a flat rate. Kelley said it’s one of the school’s biggest fundraisers and it has been going on for more than a decade. The event was virtual in the sense that students took pictures or videos of themselves and then submitted them to the school.

Peyton Gillespie taking part in virtual Hoop-a-Thon
Courtesy of: the Gillespie family

Moving the Hoop-A-Thon to a virtual state was kind of difficult, Kelley said, because the way the event is held, in person, you can’t replicate through a virtual format. She said normally a large portion of the student body participates and they do it in the gym where they are cheered on by the entire school and their families.

Anna Lohmann taking part in virtual Hoop-a-Thon
Courtesy of: the Lohmann family

Kelley said this year the event was less about fundraising and more about fun, giving the families a chance to feel connected to the school and other families while quarantining.

“I only received positive feedback so it was a blessing to see families respond positively to it and not feel like it was just another thing to do or something that would cause them stress, but something that brought them joy,” Kelley said. “And it let their kids feel like they were doing something that was normal, something that they had prepared to do and they could still participate even though it looked a little different.”

Trinity received a lot of submissions, Kelley said, especially from elementary school families.

Grace Jenkins taking part in virtual Hoop-a-Thon
Courtesy of: the Jenkins family

It was a joy to see staff, students and parents all come together to make the event possible even if in a different format Kelley said. Everybody has been on board with the virtual process for not just the fundraiser, but also the doing school from home and for that Kelley is grateful.

Matthew Stellato taking part in virtual Hoop-a-Thon
Courtesy of: the Stellato family

“I really think that everyone stepped up to this challenge in a really good way and made the best of the situation, understanding that nothing is in our control, the only thing that’s in our control is our response to the situation,” Kelley said. “And the way the school wants to respond to the situation is showing parents and kids that we care for them and that we’re one family, and that we’re not going to let them go down alone in this hard time.”