Sioux Falls-area teachers 'Dash for Cash' for classroom improvements at Stampede game

·3 min read

Local teachers scrambled for $5,000 worth of cash during the Sioux Falls Stampede hockey game on Saturday night.

The first-ever Dash for Cash event pitted 10 Sioux Falls area teachers against each other to grab as many single dollar bills as possible in less than five minutes. The money, meant to go toward either their classroom or school, was donated by CU Mortgage Direct.

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"With everything that has gone on for the last couple of years with teachers and everything, we thought it was an awesome group thing to do for the teachers," Ryan Knudson, Director of Business Development and Marketing for CU Mortgage Direct, said. "The teachers in this area, and any teacher, they deserve whatever the heck they get."

Many of the teachers said that they were planning on using the cash to get flexible seating, such as standing desks or wobble chairs, or document cameras so they could upload lessons online.

"It just gives them options to be comfortable when they're in the classroom," Patrick Heyen, a seventh grade math and science teacher at Memorial Middle School, said, explaining flexible seating.

Alexandria Kuyper, a fifth grade teacher at Discovery Elementary School, said that while her school has a great Parent-Teacher Organization that allows them to write grants to receive funding for classroom items, a lot of the smaller stuff, like treats and holiday decorations, can add up.

"I think it's really cool when the community offers an opportunity like this for things that educations a lot of times pay out of pocket for," she said.

South Dakotan teachers earned an average of $49,000 in 2020, according to South Dakota News Watch. The state ranks 49th in teacher salary in the United States.

But not all the teachers are planning on using the cash directly in their classrooms. Barry Longden coaches the e-sports club at Harrisburg High School and plans on using the money he collected to buy more equipment for his 30-student-strong club.

"Getting that equipment for the kids is really just the big component of what gives them access to this because otherwise, it's really accessible for most kids," Longden said.

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Because the e-sports club is not yet a South Dakota High School Activities Association sanction sport, Longden relies on fundraising and donations.

"I've been throwing my name in the hat everywhere I can find so that way I can get opportunities to get money for the kids," he said.

Alexandria Kuyper, teacher at Discovery Elementary School, grabs an armful of dollar bills on Saturday, December 11, 2021, in the first-ever Dash For Cash between periods at the Sioux Falls Stampede game. The teachers can use the money collected during the event for classroom programs and enhancements.
Alexandria Kuyper, teacher at Discovery Elementary School, grabs an armful of dollar bills on Saturday, December 11, 2021, in the first-ever Dash For Cash between periods at the Sioux Falls Stampede game. The teachers can use the money collected during the event for classroom programs and enhancements.

How much did each teacher get?

  • Melissa Cole- Centerville Public School: $409

  • Tasha Davis- Dell Rapids Public: $378

  • Patrick Heyen- Memorial Middle School: $478

  • Barry Longden- Harrisburg High School: $616

  • Jill Kratovil- Madison Central: $569

  • Alexandria Kuyper- Discovery Elementary School: $592

  • Sawyer Schmitz- Webster Elementary School: $513

  • Stephanie Sparks- Brandon Valley Middle School: $574

  • Amy Staples- Oscar Howe Elementary School: $473

  • Leah Van Tol- LifeScape Specialty School: $379

Follow Annie Todd on Twitter @AnnieTodd96. Reach out to her with tips, questions and other community news at atodd@argusleader.com or give her a call at 605-215-3757.

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: South Dakota teachers dash for cash on ice at Stampede Hockey game