By Elisa Reamer
Claire Vantreek, a senior at Batavia High School, has organized a run/walk/roll event to raise money for the Vocational Transitional Program on April 15, 2018, at 1 pm at Batavia High School. The event costs $15 per participant and all of the funds will go towards the program, which offers a safe environment for students with special needs to be able to learn in a classroom at their own pace. Participants will also receive a T-shirt as a thank you for going out of their way to run with children in the special education program.
These students have autism, down syndrome, and other various types of disabilities. By signing up for this walk, members of the community can join together and create a day of fun with kids who normally do not get interaction outside of the classroom. Vantreek feels very strongly about the students and their rights in and out of school.
“This is my second year working with this program during my gym class and I see how amazing these students are,” she said. “I chose to create this run to raise both awareness of and funds for this program.”
Participants can also sign up to volunteer, on her website. She is looking to fill many positions that will help the run become the best it can be. Volunteers can help set up, clean up after the event, cheer for contestants, and check people in. Marissa Spears, a senior at BHS, is an example of someone who is very excited to share her time by checking people in.
“I chose to volunteer because I love hanging out with these kids every day during gym class,” Spears said. “They bring me so much joy each day and they don’t even know that they’re doing it. I just want to help give back. I think this will help our community be more aware of the students and they can be more understanding of one another. The VTP students will have more friendly faces around the community.”
Vantreeck acquired the idea to start the 5K from her English teacher, Molly Jackson. Jackson assigned their students a Genius Hour Project, which encourages students to start something without any fear or the feeling of judgment hanging over their heads. The idea was for her students to start doing something that they always wanted to do but did not because of time and energy. Students are allowed to do anything that is school appropriate ranging from learning a new language to raising money for their favorite charity.
“I did it because you guys never really have a chance to have a choice, so kids can still get the skills to learn English, but by doing it their own way,” Jackson said. “I thought it fit well in the topic’s curriculum by not just having students write another paper, but because you need to learn these skills doing real activities since you will have to write papers for the rest of your life.”
This run will help the special education students feel more welcome in their community.