Staff members in District 24’s three elementary schools take great pride in working hard to educate students in the classroom, but their dedication doesn’t stop when the school day ends. Twelve educators from the district also taught by example last weekend.
Teachers, administrators and support staff from the William L. Buck, Brooklyn Avenue and Robert W. Carbonaro schools took part in the Spartan Race on April 13 at Citi Field and raised money for a good cause along the way.
Leading up to the event, and through the end of April, money is being raised to benefit the Sunrise Day Camp in Oceanside. The camp is for children ages 3 to 16 with cancer. It is designed to meet the emotional, social, recreational and physical needs of these children while allowing them to enjoy the comforts and safety of their own homes at night.
Jeannie Gavigan, an ESL teacher at Buck, played a key role in organizing District 24’s participation in the event and said the reason why Sunrise Day Camp was chosen as its charity is because a kindergartner in the district attends the camp.
The three buildings principals participated in the race, which featured dozens of obstacles, and because of its stadium setting, plenty of stairs. Buck Principal Mark Onorato has competed in several other obstacle course races and said he advised some of the people who were running a race of this nature for the first time on stretching and hydrating beforehand. One of his favorite parts of the event was climbing a rope toward the end of the three-mile course and ringing a bell at the top. He said everyone worked together, which made the race all the more special.
“It feels like you’re accomplishing something not just for yourself, but you’re doing it for your community,” Onorato said. “The community is a family and we all work together just like in school and do what’s best for everyone.”
Dr. Scott Comis, principal at Brooklyn Avenue, has ran in many traditional races, but this was his first Spartan Race. “It was rigorous course,” he said, “one that required a team effort and one that was certainly rewarding.”
Library media specialist at Buck, Karen Mylan, has had some experience in similar races but said this one was her most challenging to date. While participating in the Spartan Race was a lot of fun, she said, it made the experience even more worthwhile that the money raised is going to a good cause.
“As teachers, we’re very interested in the welfare of the kids that we teach,” she said, “and being able to do something fun like this with our colleagues and raise money for such a great cause is incredible.”
Gavigan said that the team finished the course in about 80 minutes and all of the participants from the district brought their medals to work on Monday to share stories with their students. “We really tried to promote to the students what we’ve been doing and why we did it,” she said.
For Comis, the camaraderie among the team members was one of the highlights, and raising money for a deserving cause was great to be a part of. “It’s just a good feeling to know we’re part of a district,” he said, “that, in addition to valuing education, we value the needs of the community and we come together as a family to assist with that.”