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Students assist children’s home

  • Runners trotting their way to the finish line. - Lucaya International School

CHAKARA BENNETT
Guardian Lifestyles Reporter
chakara@nasguard.com

Published: Dec 14, 2011

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Instead of spending a regular Saturday morning either swimming, playing soccer or vegging out in front of the television, nine-year-old Tenniya Martin joined over 200 of her peers in the first Turkey Trot fun run and walk event in an effort to raise funds for the Grand Bahama Children’s Home.

Martin, a fifth grade student at Lucaya International School (LIS) in Grand Bahama, which hosted the event, says the experience was an exciting and fulfilling one.

“It was a challenging to participate in the race but it was a lot of fun as well,” she says. “It was great to race with my friends and it was even better that I won in my age group (ages 9 - 10).”

Fourteen-year-old Sophie Paine also won her division (ages 13-15) and really had a great time changing the pace of her normal Saturday morning routine. She says it was exciting to participate in the five kilometer race and the best part was finally finishing despite how she felt.

“I really enjoyed it. Got some exercise and it was for a good cause since it helps the children’s home.”

The first Turkey Trot held by LIS brought together over 225 participants who helped raise over $4,000 for the Grand Bahama (GB) Children’s Home.

"I am hugely impressed by the support we have had for this year’s LIS Turkey Trot fun run and walk,” said Lee Rawlinson, LIS science head and event coordinator. “Lucaya International School has supported the Children's Home for the last few years and we decided to plan a fun run to open up our fundraising event to the wider public which has proved to be a great success. I hope the event next year is even bigger!"

The event, which took place Saturday, December 10 at 9 a.m. in the Lucaya area, had all participants lined up in bright green shirts to compete in the five kilometer run or walk, or a one-kilometer race for younger participants.

Celebrating as overall winner of the first Turkey Trot is Davide Cuccurullo, a student at the International School, who was closely followed by fellow students and lots of very fit moms. Winners of each age category received a turkey for their holiday tables.  The winner of the one kilometer race was Clement Knowles, age 12, and nine-year-old Tenniya Martin.

Sarah Kirkby, the Children’s Home executive and a participant in the race, says she was happy to see the amount of people who came out to support the Children’s Home.

“Although it was a strangely hot day for December, each runner and walker gave this race their best effort. I can’t get over all the children that have participated today!  LIS continues to demonstrate to this community the joy of giving back and they are teaching their children to be wonderful philanthropists,” she says.

All of the funds raised by the participants will go to the Grand Bahama Children’s Home.

Rawlinson says he is proud of how successful the event turned out although organizing it may have been a bigger job than imagined. Nonetheless it was truly a worthwhile effort that was only possible with community support, he says.

“I have to admit that at first I was a bit overwhelmed by what goes in to organizing an event like this, but my fellow teachers and friends have supported me all the way. It’s wonderful to see all the work pay off for a great cause,” says Rawlinson.

The inspiration for the event came from the tradition of having an annual in-school running event which had been put to the wayside for a year. The event coordinator thought it would be a good idea to revive the event but this time make it bigger than ever. This event usually raised funds for the Grand Bahama Children’s Home and Rawlinson says it was only fitting this bigger initiative should do the same.

“I wanted to do something bigger than the normal event and get more people in the community involved,” says Rawlinson. “I found a route that was friendly and scenic. To make it more exciting we got prizes and t-shirts for participants which were all sponsored thanks to the great response from the corporate community.’

The science teacher says what makes this even more worthwhile to him is that the children and participants all had fun. It was great community effort and more persons than expected showed up to support the cause.

Besides the annual walk Rawlinson says the school has always tried to support charities in the community and get students to see how important it is to give back. He is happy that programs and events like this are well attended because it shows him that the children are becoming more community minded and realize that they can share their wealth in more ways than simply donating funds.

“It’s just as important to give your time and actively make things better for others. I am impressed with the children and all the participants. It is for a good cause and it is a good form of exercise to keep us all healthy,” he says.

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