Every year, as part of the Annual Healthiest State Walk, the Healthiest State Initiative runs a ‘March Madness’ style bracket competition called the School Mascot Challenge. 64 schools across Iowa are pitted against each other in a bracket where matchups are decided by voting on social media until one school is left standing in the first week of October.
To be eligible, schools were required to be one of the first 64 schools registered for the Healthiest State Walk. The school left standing at the end of the bracket is declared the winner and awarded $1,000 to continue healthy initiatives in their district.
In 2021, the IKM-Manning Community School District claimed their second School Mascot Challenge title in the 8 years of the competition. Since winning last year, they used their prize money to put on an amazing event for their middle schoolers to encourage healthy habits, and make memories for years to come!
2022 IKM-Manning Middle School Color Run
With their prize money, IKM-Manning hosted a Middle School Color Run during the last week of school. They prepared a mile and a half course around the school with colored powder stations set up throughout. Local business sponsored the run and manned the stations where they threw colored powder at the students as they ran by!
High School students made the middle schoolers ‘IKM-Manning Color Run’ t-shirts and all participants received water bottles and granola bars after finishing the race. Students had a great time signing each other's shirts and playing yard games on the football field after the event. “It was a fun way to send our 8th graders on to high school and a fun way for all other middle school students to end their school year!” said Amy Rohe, a teacher at the IKM-Manning School District, “It was an event loved by all and we hope to do it again this school year!.”
The 2022 School Mascot Challenge is currently in the Final Four, with the next champion being decided on October 4th. IKM-Manning’s hopes to repeat as winner are still alive as they have reached the Final Four again, with Storm Lake St. Mary’s, Ogden Elementary School, and Battle Creek-Ida Grove High School trying to play spoiler in their hunt for the 2022 School Mascot Challenge title.