Almost all Hayes Intermediate School students were doing laps around the gym Friday, May 10.

Almost all Hayes Intermediate School students were doing laps around the gym Friday, May 10.

But the exercise wasn't punishment or part of a physical education class.

The students were participating in the March for Babies, an event to raise money for the March of Dimes.

The fundraiser was sponsored by the school's Kids in Action Club. The walk was scheduled to be held outdoors, but was forced indoors due to rain.

"The KIA Club participates in a number of events to help the school and community each year," said Kristi Gagliardi, a fifth-grade reading/writing teacher who serves as the club adviser with physical education teacher Michelle Walker.

Students who donated at least $1 were able to participate by walking 15 minutes in the March for Babies, Gagliardi said.

As the activity began, about $860 had been raised by students, although that figure may increase, she said.

"We had a number of students who collected more than $1," Gagliardi said. "What's really nice is that we had some parents who donated money that would allow all our students to participate."

The students were marching in honor of "Team Amelia Elise," which was started in 2010 by Hayes sixth-grade teacher Michelle Toothman and her husband, Dave, after their daughter, Amelia, was lost at birth.

The Toothman family participated in the March for Babies in 2011 in Amelia's memory and in honor of their other daughter, Charlotte.

"Michelle is such a wonderful teacher at our school, and I think having that personal connection makes this effort even more special for our students," Gagliardi said.

"I feel honored to be a part of (the March for Babies)," said sixth-grader Leah Joseph, this year's KIA Club president. "It's such a good cause."

Hayes students were having fun participating in the walk, laughing with each other, but they also took the event seriously, she said.

"I think people really care about this cause, especially since we're raising money for Team Amelia," Joseph said. "Being involved in this fundraiser has really raised our awareness about the issue of the health of babies."

KIA Club secretary and sixth-grader Olivia Carruthers said she was proud her school was able to raise so much money.

"Raising $860 is really good, since our goal was only $250," she said. "I think the main reason we did so well was because we all love Mrs. Toothman."

Carruthers raised more than $30, including donations from family members such as her grandfather and mother.

"It's really awesome to be part of this," she said.