Published April 19, 2007
They gathered over $54,000 in pledges. They trained for weeks in their daily physical education classes. And on March 28, 394 Notre Dame Academy students ran to raise money for a new school-wide literary program.
The event, titled “Run for Reading,” got started about 9 a.m. with an Atlanta Falcons cheerleader leading the school in a cheer. The music was roaring as the youngest students set out to complete their 45 laps.
Next it was time for the second- through eighth-graders to tackle their course. For most, like third-grader Ashlan Leazer, it would be their first time running a 5K.
“I never knew I could run a 5K,” Leazer said, after completing the course.
Gail Devers, a world champion sprinter and three-time Olympic gold medalist, volunteered her time to encourage and congratulate the students and was impressed by their dedication.
“For the students to run so far took some training,” she said.
“You have to work hard and have dreams and keep up your grades,” she said. “That is very important.”
Ken Oxendine, former Atlanta Falcon, Virginia Tech Hall of Famer, and Notre Dame Academy physical education teacher, helped organize the event. He credits the students’ fitness to Notre Dame Academy’s Fitness for Life program.
“Daily P.E. through Notre Dame Academy’s Fitness for Life program allows the students to expend extra energy so when they get back to the classroom they can more easily focus on learning,” he said. “Plus, the more fit the students are, the healthier they are, and the better they learn.”
Notre Dame Academy is an independent, Marist-sponsored Catholic school located in Duluth. For more information about the school, call (678) 387-9385 or visit www.ndacademy.org.