For long distance runners endowed with an insatiable and competitive spirit, marathons (and increasingly ultramarathons) represent the pinnacle of physical achievement. Training for such a daunting event requires intense preparation, unwavering commitment and extreme motivation, all three of which are incredibly admirable qualities to possess. In this sense, marathons are imbued with positivity and are typically joyous affairs. For the majority of us, the rigors of competing in such a race are incomprehensible, and we instead choose to cheer the supremely gifted on from the comfort of the sidelines or at home in front of the TV.
THINK Global School’s students had the opportunity to do the former yesterday afternoon when they attended the running of the Boston Marathon. One of the great things about the Boston Marathon is that the positivity and rewards associated with the race aren’t limited to the runners. Every year, a substantial amount of money is raised by individuals who choose to enter the Boston Marathon as a charity runner. In 2012, for instance, 2,515 people entered the Boston Marathon as charity runners, each raising $4,000 for an authorized non-profit in exchange for the opportunity to run the race.
It was for the charity runners of one of these non-profits, the Alzheimer’s Association that our grades 9 and 10 students turned up to rally. Leading up to the race, 11th graders A’ntonia and Anat worked together with the Alzheimer’s Association to get the students involved in the race. The result? One very loud cheering section for the 26 runners participating on the Alzheimer Association’s behalf.
Besides incessantly yelling, constantly ringing cowbells and endlessly blowing horns, our students also prepared signs encouraging the runners in each student’s native language. All of this was received with great glee from the passing runners, an absolute positive on an otherwise tremendously heart-wrenching day.
This morning, we received word from the Alzheimer’s Association that an otherwise dour meeting to discuss the previous day’s events was punctuated with joy when discussing how impactful our students’ enthusiasm had been for those involved, with one staff member referring to them as “the most energizing point on the course for the runners.” Luckily, none of our staff members or students were physically harmed during the bombings, and judging by some of the writings I’ve encountered in response to the incident, it has only further steeled their resolve to make this world a better place.
On campus, things are returning to normal as well, if we use that term relatively. THINK Global School founder Joann McPike shared on Spot today her amazement upon finding kids stretched out on the floor while gazing at the ceiling. All signs might point to a communal nap, but the students were actually watching a video being projected onto the ceiling as part of Jarret Voytilla’s science class. The students are all completely engaged, laughing, empowered with positivity and ready to face whatever the day brings. As long as there are creative minds like these and caring hearts like those belonging to the staff and runners of the Alzheimer’s Association, the world seems like it might just be all right to me.