Mark Kurtz, Principal at Camden United Christian Academy (CUCA), had no way of knowing that the school’s 9th annual Fall Festival would be one for the record books, but thanks to local businesses, it was just that.
“Our city has gone above and beyond and we are so thankful,” Kurtz said on Friday after all of the numbers were in and totaled more than $20,000. That amount nearly doubled that of previous fundraisers, making it the largest sum raised in the school’s history.
According to Kurtz, the Fall Festival took place on October 13 in the school’s gymnasium.
He said, “We set up the gym with games for the kids to play and win tickets to get prizes. We had a tremendous food tent with chicken and dumplings, hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, chili, and all the trimmings with desserts to die for. Inside we had a silent auction area where gift baskets, cakes, pies, local gift certificates for businesses and stores, crafts, and more. There were door prize giveaways, a cakewalk every hour, and fun for the entire family.”
Kurtz said the benevolence of local businesses made it all possible. He smiled, “The most amazing part of this year was the community involvement. I believe most every locally owned restaurant gave certificates for this event. Many of the locally owned businesses gave certificates or donated products for this event. We had 18 different organizations come together to help CUCA raise funds to continue providing a solid Christian based education to this community. Those who donated were, Brian’s Express Care, AutoZone, Goodwings, Pappy’s, Smarder’s Grill, The Shack, El Vallarta, Country & Western Steakhouse, Attorney Marcus Noles, Susan’s Custom Creations, Craig’s Pizza, Daymaker Café, Charlie’s Sub Shop, Downhome Family Restaurant, Best Western Home Place Inn, Bright Ideas Custom Creation, Ivy Corner Gift Shop, and Eddie’s Furniture.”
Kurtz continued, “We also used this day to award a Hometown Hero with the help of Modern Woodmen, Tim Jordan. This year’s Hometown Heroes’ were our own Pastor Marty and First Lady Sister Dellona Johnson who have been serving this community for 34 years this November and providing this school for the last 25 years.”
Students were involved in the fundraiser effort, as well. The principal said, “We also honored the Royal Court, who are the students who raised money for the Fall Festival on their own. Those who raised the most received their crown. Those crowned were: Prince Blayze Severns and Princess Shiloh Burcham, K-2 grade; Jr. King Kade Johnson and Jr. Queen Anne Caroline Johnson, 3-8 grade; and King Luke Smith and Queen Savanah Hollingsworth, high school.”
The Fall Festival is an annual fund raiser to help CUCA, a private Christian school, that uses the generated funds to “add to our school’s ability to educate.” Last year, CUCA used Fall Festival money to buy several Chromebooks, remodel the school room, improve playground equipment, purchase athletic equipment, and more. No word yet on what this year’s record amount of funds will be used for.
Camden United Christian Academy is a part of Camden First United Pentecostal Church and will celebrate their 25th Anniversary in February. It is located at 126 Vicksburg Ave. in Camden.