Their story began in Athena Davis’ AP Holocaust literature class. Students learned of the Holocaust’s brutality before being challenged to find a way to memorialize the victims.
According to Grant Currin, recently graduated CHS senior, the students did not want to build a memorial.
A decision was made to, “Work on a project which would help other people. We decided to help victims of genocide in Cambodia.”
PCL is a local humanitarian organization living up to its name to provide care and learning throughout the world. Their Build a City project in Cambodia caught the attention of Currin and his classmates. They discovered it would only cost $1,000 to build a house through PCL.
Alex Hutt, Becca Moser, Olivia Hysinger, Victoria Espinoza, Currin, Justin Jones, Oleg Stukanov and Walker Green decided to organize the Run for Cover 5K. They created the idea and asked students from Melissa Adams’ Sports Marketing class to help them raise money.
Triston Blansit, Chris Hughes, Matthew Nicholson, Joel Simpkins, Noah Towe, Zach Lee, Kelly Chartier, Monse Nino, Jesse west and Weston Charles were able to raise $800 in corporate sponsorships.
More than 100 people registered for the race. Davis said there were about 85 participants who showed up to the event.
“It went very well,” Currin said. “We had a great turnout and we were very excited about how the community supported us.”
A wide mix of people showed up for the event. The demographic covered ages from elementary school students to adults. Davis said Jake Stum, PCL director of programming and development, and Fred Garmon, PCL director, participated in the 5K.
“The [CHS] cheerleaders ran instead of having their end of the year banquet,” Davis said. “[The coach] said she just got to thinking how much money went into that sort of thing, so they ended up doing the 5K and then had breakfast together.”
One story in particular caught Davis’ attention.
“A mother of a girl called me the day before the race and asked me if she could still register,” Currin said. “She said her daughter had decided a couple of weeks ago she wanted to run the race, but the mother said her daughter had to raise money to enter the race.”
Added Davis, “The girl talked to Rotary and she ended up making a total of about $70.”
The little girl, Mikaela Martin, really had an impact on Davis. to me was probably one of the most inspiring things out of the whole event,” Davis said.
Cleveland High students and Arnold’s Girls on the Run also showed up for the event.
Currin said the $2,100 will pay for the construction of two homes.
“We learned what an impact we can have when a group of people work together toward one goal,” Currin said.
“We also learned how difficult it is to plan an event. We go to things all the time and I don’t think I ever appreciated how difficult it is to put something on.”
Davis said the success of the 5K was a lesson to her, as well.
“The biggest thing I learned is that something like this is possible. I talk a big game about everyone being able to do anything, but until you’ve really tried it, you really don’t know,” Davis said. “It was impressive to take something big like this and really put the whole thing in the hands of seniors at high school.”
Corporate sponsors included Prior Attire, Gray Epperson, Bounce Around Play World and Pizzaria, Caldwell Paving, Bowater Employees Credit Union, Smoothie King, Cleveland Collision, and anonymous donors.
“A special thanks to Westmore Church of God for letting us use their property for the course,” Currin said. “And for Craig Dumont’s help.”
Davis said one quote by Margaret Mead really sums up the students’ efforts and the 5K’s result, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”