Hello! We are Carrie and Kate, two English teachers at Louisa County High School, located in rural Louisa County, Virginia. Our main goal is to fund scholarships for students who have not had it easy, students who have struggled and refused to give up, despite the obstacles in their path. Thank you for taking a moment to learn about our story. We are grateful for any support you can give to these amazing kids!
I began running at age 35, to show my struggling students that any goal is possible with dedication and hard work. I started small, with 5ks and 10ks, and eventually began tackling marathons. At the start of the 2015-16 school year, I had an epiphany about how I could combine my two greatest passions--running and teaching--to set an example of perseverance and raise funds that could help my students reach their dreams.
Those dreams are often pursued wholeheartedly, despite the shadow of financial insecurity. More than 40% of our students at the high school receive free and reduced lunch, with rates closer to 50% at the county’s four elementary schools. These percentages also indicate the number of students who will face a great need when it’s time to pay for college.
I was inspired to start The Lion Pride Run by my students’ remarkable strengths, as well as their many unmet needs. In my classes, year after year, I see committed, hard-working, resilient students, who have overcome difficult obstacles in their lives and endured for the long haul, yet they are not always able to afford the opportunities they have earned. Like most teachers, I care deeply about my students and wanted to support them beyond my own classroom.
I didn’t have to go far. It turned out the answer was right on our school track--and that one day I would run 400 laps, or 100 miles, on that dirt oval. It was my colleague and friend, Carrie, and her own dedicated, hard-working students, who turned my hopeful idea into a successful reality.
I will never forget the day Kate came to one of our faculty meetings with a brilliant idea. She would raise money to fund a scholarship program--by running farther than most people like to drive--on our school track. My students loved the idea and so The Lion Pride Run was born. The first year, we started small and focused on local businesses to collect sponsorships. Last year, we had the idea of using GoFundMe to reach a bigger audience for Kate’s story--her selfless desire to inspire and provide opportunities for our students.
Two years ago, with Kate “Aiming for 100,” as the slogan went, we set a goal of raising $100,000 to match her efforts, a far cry from the $5,000 average we raised the previous two years. We also wanted to broaden our reach in the community. Kate and I decided to donate a portion of the money raised to local charities that benefit children in this community dealing with hardships. Additionally, my Newspaper and Leadership classes joined forces to make the run a school and community event. A portion of the money goes back into these programs, to ensure that they are able to support the run for many years to come.
This year, Kate is taking our message beyond Louisa County, all the way to the Virginia State Capitol. She will be running the 50 miles from Louisa County High School to Richmond to make this event more public than ever before. Kate has dedicated this run to the students of not only Louisa, but the entire Commonwealth. The 2020 Lion Pride Run will signify the importance of education and educators statewide.
With your help, we hope to make the $100,000 goal that once seemed like an intangible dream into a reality. To sum up, our main objective is to fund scholarships for our students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to achieve their dreams, as well as school and community programs that allow the same. Just as we see no reason to set any limits on Kate’s miles, we have faith that caring, kind, good people--from far beyond Louisa County, Virginia--will see no limits to the definition of community.
Thank you for your support! In addition to donating, please share our story with your friends and family to help us spread the word. https://www.gofundme.com/lion-pride-scholarship
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