Story by Trey Martin and Destiny White, photo from GoFlashWin
On January 28, Dutch Fork hosted the annual Be A Fan 5K, raising money to support the school’s special needs program. Runners from around the community, as well as athletes from various sports throughout the school, participated in the event.
“[I participated because] I knew it was for a good cause, and I also wanted to run a race because I haven’t since cross country season ended in November,” junior Revon Landreneau said.
The race is put on to bring the community closer together in a standard marathon format, with runners being able to participate individually or in teams. Participants found many benefits in the event.
“I wanted to showcase Dutch Fork baseball, earn community service hours, and also support the special needs program,” sophomore Noah Jackson said.
Along with the baseball program, members of the cheerleading, track and cross country teams, as well as other students, teachers and community members, showed their support for the event.
“My favorite thing was seeing all the people turn out, because I didn’t see that many people until I got my papers. Seeing all the cheerleaders and baseball players and everyone else was exciting,” Revon said.
Each runner had their own personal reason for participating in the event.
“I chose to participate in the race because I love to run and because the race supports the special needs community,” senior Nelson Addison said. “It’s a memorial for Timothy Gibson as well, who died in the floods last year.”
The Dutch Fork special needs program directly benefits from the proceeds of the event, and participants are more than willing to help.
“These kids are really sweet and special and they deserve so much. We should support them to give them the same opportunities as the rest of the students,” junior Niyati Shah said.
While athletes are focused on preparing for the 2017 spring sports season, the importance of serving the people around them comes first.
“It is important to raise money for the special needs students and to show our support to them as a community,” Noah said.
The special needs department puts on a number of fundraisers throughout the year to integrate the special needs students with other Dutch Fork students.
“My favorite thing is seeing the special needs kids cross the finish line and them feeling accomplished and self confident,” Niyati said.
While running a 5K is beneficial health and confidence wise, the camaraderie built within the community uniting to help an important cause is like no other.
“My favorite thing about the race is that people from all over Irmo and Columbia, and many other students, come together for the race, whether it be as volunteers or runners,” Nelson said. “It’s a fun experience whether you’re running, walking, rolling, or just handing out water and food and cheering people on.”