As a prominent Valley Springs Middle School fundraiser, the Ram Run 5K completed its seventh year and looks toward new leadership as its founding teachers are stepping down.
VSMS cross country coach Ansley Fox began the run with Erin Maccarelli. Maccarelli’s original intention was for the money raised from the run to be used to build a track around the soccer field. Although that idea was never put into action, the Ram Run has raised over $12,000 since it began back in 2010.
“The run’s gotten a little more popular with the kids. The P.E. department has worked hard at getting kids to participate in the Ram Run, and every year, more and more teams get involved. It’s always been fun to see from Roberson come back and run,” Fox said.
The PEP Program at VSMS did not run the first few years until a student PEP tutor requested that some of the students she worked with be allowed to join in. When the PEP program started to participate, the money raised was split between the PEP department and Valley Springs.
“It’s really brought the PEP community and what you call the mainstream community at Valley closer together. PEP kids start after the runners and they run a shorter course, but they come through the same finish line. It’s just a big deal to see the kids interacting in the gym and on the race course,” Fox said. “Every time we can give a PEP kid a normal experience, it is a good thing.”
The Ram Run proceeds this year will go in part to the PEP Program and in part to the VSMS Student Council. In past years, the money was split between athletics, mostly going to uniforms for track and cross country, and PEP.
This year, the VSMS Student Council is in need of funds to help them redesign the courtyard and Athletic Director Allan Tenney agreed to let them benefit from the run.
“There is no question that the Ram Run is a community event for an amazing cause,” said VSMS CTE teacher Angela Cannon, who will be taking over the organizational process now. “I would love to see the Ram Run continue to be a successful fundraiser and I look forward to continued growth. Hopefully the Ram Run will becoming even bigger and more successful as the years go on.”
VSMS will also see the retirement of gym teacher and coach Sally Christman at the end of this school year. Christman, who has taught more than 4,000 different kids and coached 38 teams, has been an avid supporter and participant in the run since it’s beginning.
“The joys of teaching is seeing a kids become wonderful mature adults,” Christman said. “That is what teaching is all about. Relationships that you build over the years and seeing kids that come from nothing pull themselves up and become great adults.”
According to Cannon, Fox and Christman will leave a legacy that will live on forever.
“The RAM Run wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the amazing father, teacher, and coach, Mr. Fox. To create an event of this magnitude is a huge undertaking, and to see a father and teacher do something like this year after year for his own children and for his students is truly amazing,” Cannon said.
According to Fox, the fact that the money goes right back to the school affects the participation, especially in regards to sponsorships. It also has shown to affect the participation of VSMS alumni.
“This 5K stands out because it is for the school. I’ve chosen to participate in it year after year just because it was something that my family always did to support Valley Springs and because we all ran there. I definitely feel more inclined to run because I love that it’s in the school community and in the neighborhood,” said senior Mary-O Soule.
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