Westfield Washington Schools Education Foundation to host Underground Railroad Run March 21

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The Westfield community can learn to be healthier and feel better about supporting the schools during the 17th Annual Underground Railroad Run March 21 at Westfield High School, 18250 Union St.

“It’s a really neat way for the community to support education in Westfield Washington Schools,” said Jan Skinner, Westfield Education Foundation executive director. “All the proceeds fund college scholarships for new Westfield High School graduates and annual teacher grants.”

Skinner said the annual event began in 1999 and has become the major fundraiser for the foundation.

“We draw 25 random students and each will receive a $350 college scholarship separate from the endowed scholarships,” she said. “We give scholarships away based on academics, financial need and community service. We try to cover all the different areas.”

To date the foundation has raised more than $900,000. Skinner said the organization averages donating $15,000 in classroom enhancements and $50,000 in college scholarships each year.

“The last several years that’s what we’ve been able to afford,” she said.

With tightened budgets, the classroom enhancement grants provide items schools are unable to afford. Skinner said recent teacher grants include purchasing reading materials, an online program for middle school geography and history, and equipment for the robotics club.

The 5k race begins at 9 a.m., the 3k walk starts at 9:30 a.m. and awards will be handed out at approximately 10:15 a.m. Costs are $15 for 5k runners, $7 for adult walkers and $5 for student walkers. To register, visit tuxbro.com or any Westfield school building. Registration also is available on site beginning at 7:30 a.m.

The event also includes a free health fair, which is open to the public whether they participate in the race or not. Skinner said the fair includes healthcare providers in the local area.

“They have valuable information to share,” she said. “People can just walk around, gather information and visit.”

The event also is an inter-district competition. The Westfield school that has the highest number of registrations will win a $500 physical education teaching grant and a big trophy to display at their school.

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