Ghosts & Goblins run becomes Carmel Education Foundation’s top fundraiser



Racers take off across the starting line at the 2014 Ghosts & Goblins 5K. (Submitted photo)

Racers take off across the starting line at the 2014 Ghosts & Goblins 5K. (Submitted photo)

By Mark Ambrogi

The Ghosts and Goblins run had a rather modest beginning.

“We started out with 100 people in the snow,” said Barb Danquist, co-executive director of the Carmel Education Foundation. “Last year we had 2,200 participants and many more people volunteering and watching.”

The seventh annual Ghosts & Goblins 5K & 2K runs and Wellness Fair, which benefit CEF, will be held Oct. 24. The Wellness Fair, hosted by the Carmel High School Wellness committee, starts at 7 a.m., the 5K at 9 a.m. and the 2K at 9:15 a.m. The race begins at the CHS Fieldhouse.

Many of the participants will don costumes. Last year, Prairie Trace Elementary students dressed up as Dalmatians and principal Jill Shipp dressed as Cruella de Ville, the villain of “101 Dalmatians.” Prairie Trace won a trophy for having the most participants. The middle schools compete for a banner for most participants.

The race raised $42,000 in 2014 and has become CEF’s largest fundraiser.

“The seniors have helped us spread the word through the high school and helped start a competition among the clubs,” Danquist said. “All the departments are competing for a pizza party. The 42 freshman homerooms are competing for a pizza party. We’re working hard with the school as well as the community to make this family, fun-filled event well known so we can raise more money for teachers.”

Stephanie McDonald, a retired CHS teacher and Danquist, a retired Carmel Middle School teacher, serve as CEF’s co-executive directors. Both sat on the CEF board and when a replacement was needed, they were asked if they were interested.

“We thought this is a great way to give back to all the teachers we know in the system and just to the profession of teaching,” said Danquist, who retired in 2010.

The Carmel Education Foundation will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016. It was started by a group of Carmel businessmen who wanted to provide scholarships for Carmel High School students, said McDonald, who retired in 2006.

“They had various moneymakers in order to raise money,” McDonald said. “It has evolved into we provide grants for teachers and support teachers in the school. We raise money for the teacher grants. We house scholarships, but we don’t raise money for those anymore.”

Many CEF scholarships are memorials or in honor of a loved one, McDonald said, and some are generated by organizations that give the organization funds to award to a CHS senior with criteria the donor sets forth.

A CEF committee helps find seniors that qualify.

McDonald said the foundation will award 86 scholarships to CHS students in May 2016. In 2015, there was more than $100,000 awarded to 81 students.

There was a total of $35,000 given in grants for 51 teachers in 2014. In the spring of 2015, CEF awarded $22,000 in grants to 79 teachers and another $22,000 will be awarded after the fall semester.

“When we started out three years ago, we were giving out $5,000 in teacher grants,” Danquist said.

For more on the Wellness Fair and to register for the runs, visit

Playwright Andrew Black teaches a class at Carmel High School. His visit was made possible through funds from the Carmel Education Foundation. (Submitted photo)

Playwright Andrew Black teaches a class at Carmel High School. His visit was made possible through funds from the Carmel Education Foundation. (Submitted photo)

Teacher grants pay dividends

CHS theater teacher Jim Peterson said his students benefited greatly from the CEF grant he received in 2013. Peterson used the grant to have playwright Andrew Black teach four of his class periods for his senior-level Theatre Production course. Peterson said the instruction helped the class develop anti-bullying plays they performed for Carmel’s three middle schools.

“Mr. Black’s instruction was instrumental in inspiring my seniors to become successful playwrights,” Peterson said. “His assistance would not have been possible without the grant from the Carmel Education Foundation. Not only did he help the kids to come up with some great ideas on how to convey their anti-bullying message but also in creating their own original short plays. One of my students, Gabbie Alford, had never written a play before. Mr. Black helped her develop her script that won the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s Young Playwrights In Process contest. We were so grateful for his help and the CEF for making it possible.”


When: Wellness Fair at 7 a.m., 5K at 9 a.m. and 2K at 9:15 a.m.

Where: CHS Fieldhouse, 520 E. Main St.

More info: For registration, prices and other details, visit