Despite rain, West Honor Run a success
'This is a fund raising project for the National Junior Honor Society at West,' race coordinator Sally McDermott said as she supervised Saturday's operation.
McDermott explained that the purpose of the race, which is divided into five categories, helps raise scholarship money for a graduating Connellsville High School student who attended Junior High West and will continue his or her academic career in college. The student with the highest GPA that meets the above criteria, wins the award.
This year, the scholarship money will be dedicated in memory of Marilyn Shearer, who was a secretary at Junior High West before her death last year. Shearer was a secretary in the Connellsville school district for more than three decades.
According to McDermott, there is plenty of preparation that leads up to race day, and no other group is more responsible for the success of the event than the NJHS.
'Everything starts a month in advance,' McDermott said. 'Probably the first thing that the kids do is look for sponsors for the T-shirts.'
After the T-shirts are purchased for those competing in the race, a logo must be designed and participation certificates must be completed.
The participation certificates were handled by ninth grader Shannon Kovack, while the logo for the T-shirt was thought of by B.J. Cuneo, also a ninth-grader.
'Sally does a very good job of setting things up, but the kids do a lot of work,' said Bruce Jaynes, who also helped to keep things running smoothly on the day of the race.
'The two-year NJHS members do most of the work,' McDermott emphasized.
And all of the hard work was done in the hopes of reaching a sizable amount of scholarship money.
'We we're hoping to raise $1,000 and I'd say we are pretty close,' McDermott said.
As for the race itself, the event featured a non-competitive walk, as well as a 3/4-mile race for students in grades 7-9 and a 1/2-mile race for students in grades 4-6. There were also 1/4-mile races for students in grades 2-3 and in grades K-1.
And although conditions were soggy, race official Joe Turek, who helps coach the track team at Junior High East, liked what he saw in terms of up-and-coming talent.
'In all my years of coaching at the junior high level, this has to be the best group of boys and girls distance runners that I have seen,' Turek said. 'God bless them all. I hope they stick with it.'