At $37,000+, SJNCS students exceed Race for Education goal

  • Nora Szelag, St. John Neumann Catholic School first-grader, participates in Race for Education fundraiser Wednesday, April 27. - Photos by Tammy Cheek

  • Patrick Wade, SJNCA and SJN Church development director, and son, David, enjoy the event. Wade was one of the fundraiser’s main organizers. - Photos by Tammy Cheek

St. John Neumann Catholic School students raced to exceed a fundraising goal in the school’s Race for Education event on the school’s soccer field Wednesday, April 27.

The effort, which involved students in all grades, raised more than $35,000, which will be spent on new rubber mulch and to repair the playground fencing. 

The school’s goal was $35,000, but as of Wednesday, May 11, the students already raised $37,000 — and school officials expected more donations to come in.

“We’re ecstatic,” said the Rev. Joe Reed, SJN School and Church pastor. “We set a higher goal this year than we had last year.

“Thank goodness, the weather’s beautiful today,” he added. “It’s going to be a great, fun day.”

“(SJNC School and Church development director) Patrick Wade and (director of admissions) Mary Marlowe are really the ones who put this whole thing together,” SJN director of communications Stephanie Greiner said.

“… It’s been another big year in terms of all the fundraising so far,” Wade said. “We’re just really grateful to the parents and the students.”

Greiner said students got donors to sponsor them so they could run, and Reed added they received other incentives as well.

“Some of the incentives are certain treats for individuals or for classes,” he said.

Students ran or walked in hour increments to race from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Later that afternoon, they returned to the field for a fellowship event, which featured Kona Ice and throwing pies at principal Bill Derbyshire.

“(Derbyshire) had to dye his hair green because we hit our goal,” Greiner said, adding other faculty dyed their hair green as well.

She said Race for Education is a fundraising planning organization Wade discovered last year.

“Just a few years ago, we were brainstorming what another school fundraiser would be,” Wade said. “It’s an organization that does this event all across the country, and it’s run by a former school principal, so he really knows schools.”

The 2021 race “was huge success,” Reed said. At that time, the school raised $45,000.