SurvivorThe TV show Survivor became the inspiration for members of a Parent Teacher Support Association (PTSA) at Nadaburg Elementary School in Wittmann, Arizona. The unusual event helped to raise funds to purchase sunshades for the school playground and promote the upcoming fall festival.

The PTSA volunteers enlisted the help of several staff members from every area of the school including the principal and superintendent. There were 28 adults at the beginning of the contest.

For .25 each students could vote for the teacher they’d like to see “Outlast” all the rest to become a human ice cream sundae!

The contest ran for eight weeks prior to the fall festival – which was to be the day of the ice cream sundaes.

Each week teachers were provided with ballots with all the names on them. As children paid the teachers recorded the number of votes for each participant. At the end of the week all of the votes were tallied. On Friday mornings they would announce over the loudspeaker the person with the lowest number of votes and they would have to “leave the island”.

The students and teachers all enjoyed the contest. Kids could vote as many times as they wished every week. All the contestants’ pictures were displayed in the school’s front office and as people were eliminated a X was drawn over their name. Even the other teachers were participating — especially if they had a grudge against a coworker.

Students competed to see who would get to do the honors of decorating their favorite teachers. Raffle tickets were sold for $1 each so that on the day of the event there would be a random draw.

Finally the week of the fall festival came and everyone was anxious to see who would become the “human sundae.” By this time there were four people left – the coach, principal, 4th grade and 1st grade teachers. That night all four of them were wrapped up in trash bags because no one knew who the “winner” would be and get the sundae on their head. To everyone’s surprise, there was no one Survivor – all four got the sundaes!

Students and adults alike enjoyed decorating the winners with ice cream, whipped cream, caramel and even sprinkles and cherries! There were multiple drawings from the raffle, at least one for each topping so that several people got to participate.


PTSA volunteer Jolene said, “The kids went crazy! We had parents who had never attended our Fall Festival come because of 8 weeks of hype. We raised about $700.00 over what we made at our event.”

When asked if there were anything that she’d do differently, she said “The night of the event the winners were set side by side. I would have spread them out further and roped off the area we sat them to get it done. We didn’t know it would be so huge.”

Plan Your Own Ice Cream Sundae Event

1. Choose a date for the Event, decide how many weeks to run
2. Recruit Contestants
3. Create promotional flyers
4. Create Voting Ballots
5. Create Posters with photos and names of contestants
6. Decide on which day of the week will be the “elimination day”
7. Each week distribute voting ballots
8. Each week collect ballots and money
9. Each week announce the persons who are eliminated
10. Raffle chances to see who gets to “build the sundae”
11. On the day of the event prepare the area that will be the “stage” (you might want to lay down a tarp if it’s inside)
12. Encourage contestants to wear old clothes – they will get messy! Cover them with trash bags to protect clothing.
13. Bring all of the sundae supplies – especially canned whipped cream!
14. Announce the final winners and let the human sundaes begin!

View other Fun Fundraiser Ideas

Posted on 23 May 2006

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