Summit for the Planet Student Perspectives

For the past 11 years, Mount Madonna School students and families have marked the last Saturday in April to observe Earth Day while raising money for the school in a celebration called Summit for the Planet. Saturday, April 28 will mark the 12th annual event. Students and families will meet at the new Hawks’ Nest by 9:30am to greet each other and stretch before starting a 5K walk through one of our redwood forested trails. Participants will finish the walk at the upper school campus, overlooking the beautiful Monterey Bay. All students will perform a few songs honoring the Earth at 11:00am to kick off the eco-carnival. Look forward to afternoon full of live music, kids games, delicious food, student exhibits and if you’re brave enough — reptiles and other majestic wildlife creatures! Don’t forget to bring your old, unwanted electronics for free recycling. This is truly a special day for the school community to gather and immerse themselves in all things Mount Madonna School: relationships, community, nature, Earth stewardship, and selfless service.

Read below for student and parent perspectives on Summit for the Planet:

Summit for the Planet is a special Mount Madonna School fundraiser because it’s more than just a fundraiser. It’s a celebration of our earth, school, and the nature we are blessed to have around us. For the first part of Summit for the Planet, we have an assembly explaining why we do this, strategies for getting sponsors, and play a game, like a scavenger hunt. Second, we collect money from our neighbors, friends, and families who sponsor us. Third, we take a 5K walk through the redwoods with all of our friends. Everyone gets dressed up! There are green tutus and wigs, rainbow leg warmers and pom poms. I always meet someone new on the hike; I just see someone walking and they start talking to me! Fourth, my favorite part, the carnival! Each grade creates an eco-friendly game, like an obstacle course or a bean bag toss. For completing each game you get wood chips. Whenever you like you can turn in your wood chips and get a plant or a healthy snack. There are also tents selling food and desserts. Summit for the Planet isn’t just a fundraiser, it’s a hike, and an eco-friendly carnival and fun for everyone. The teachers, students, and friends and family of the students are all there enjoying the student performances and having fun. – By Bridget Smith, grade six

For our school and community, Summit for the Planet is a fundraiser that simultaneously raises money for the school, so they can make their students happy by keeping classes like physical education around, and it also teaches people and students about the environment and how to help it. It’s a way for teachers to teach their students how to recycle things and repurpose them to help our earth. For example, instead of buying all new clothes and wasting our materials on clothing, Summit for the Planet includes a Trash Fashion show where the students are allowed to repurpose old plastics, papers or other materials they find in the recycling bin, and turn them into wearable fashion pieces! The event, which includes a five kilometer walk-a-thon is also great for students’ health.
– By Mariah Cohen, grade 7

There’s only one Earth, and we are responsible to care for it. Each generation − from our wise elders to the newest arrivals and future generations not yet born − relies on this planet for everything. Food, water, air, shelter − and more. It’s vital that we all do our part to preserve our precious resources.

So, each year, the Mount Madonna School community gathers at its mountain-top home to celebrate our planet Earth at a fabulous event called Summit for the Planet. All of the school’s students, from the tots in Pre/K to the seniors who are readying for graduation, join with family and friends on a five-kilometer trail through the school’s pristine redwood forest. Some run, some walk – and some even do the course twice! But everyone has the same objective: to raise awareness for our environment.

After the walk, we gather for an eco-carnival, to play and learn about how all living creatures impact each other and our physical surroundings. The students create learning games, put on a Trash Fashion show, and host organizations that are dedicated to caring for the environment.

We believe in doing everything we can to protect the Earth. Summit for the Planet is not only a fabulous day and a really important event for us and for Mount Madonna School, but it’s a time when we can do just that. – By Cavan Smith, grade five, and her mom, Christine Smith

The annual Summit for the Planet festival means a lot to me and to the Mount Madonna School community. Summit for the Planet is the time during the year when the entire school comes together to raise money to fund our school programs and celebrate Earth Day. All of the students join and work together to help our school. This effort requires teamwork from our whole school community to be able to set and reach a fundraising goal.

For me Summit for the Planet represents a time when we all have fun together. At the start of the school year, middle and high school students go on different field trips to learn more about each other and bond. But during Summit for the Planet all of the grades mix together, preschool through seniors. We all come together as a community and participate in the 5K, with mixed-grade groups of walking or running together. Afterwards everyone plays the games that the elementary classes have created, listens to songs, watches (or participate in) the Trash Fashion show, and showcases their science projects. Summit for the Planet is a great event for the school to raise funds and awareness, and also to build stronger, meaningful connections among the students. – By Amirah Alexander, grade eight

Summit for the Planet is a celebration that happens every year at Mount Madonna School (MMS). The purpose of Summit for the Planet is to raise funds for the school and raise awareness about climate issues through games and activities for kids, and learning for people of all ages. As an MMS student, I can say that it goes much deeper than that.

Summit for the Planet brings our community together; it is a celebration of the unique culture fostered at our mountaintop school where everyone knows everyone, and an expression of positive energy and growth. Participating students are eager to engage in the activities and celebrations because not only is Summit for the Planet a school event, it is a tradition that is symbolic of the broader MMS philosophy and a representation of the vibrancy, energy, and the community our school has to offer. – By Jordan Willis, grade 12

For more information about Summit for the Planet, visit