by Cori Hilsgen
St. John’s Prep High School juniors Sarah Schrup of St. Joseph and Gabrielle Kolb of St. Cloud, along with the SJP “She’s the First” Chapter, will host a 5K run/walk. It will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 26 on the logging trail behind the Tower Field at the St. John’s Outdoor University, Collegeville.
Participants can choose to walk or run the event.
The event supports the SJP chapter of the “She’s the First” organization. All proceeds from the event will go toward sponsoring girls’ education in developing countries.
“She’s the First” works to educate girls from the middle school years through graduation. The organization sponsors girls’ education and gives many of them a chance to become the first in their families to graduate from secondary school.
Schrup and Kolb are both full International Baccalaureate Diploma Program students at SJP. In order to receive an IB diploma, students are required to organize creativity, action and service projects. The 5K is their CAS project.
It’s also the spring semester fundraiser for SJP’s chapter of “She’s the First,” of which Kolb is the president. She established the chapter this past summer, and this is SJP’s first year as an active chapter. There are nearly 100 chapters throughout the United States. SJP is one of four in Minnesota.
“Sarah and I both needed to complete a CAS project, and as the president of our school’s “She’s the First” chapter, I also wanted to organize a 5K fundraiser for the spring semester,” Kolb said. “Our Run the World 5K was the perfect marriage between the two. Sarah and I are also both passionate about supporting girls’ education, and we wanted to do something meaningful to support a cause we are so inspired by during high school.”
Kolb and Schrup hoped to have more than 100 participants at the 5K and raise $1,500. They have met both of those goals.
Last semester, SJP’s chapter raised $400 from a November cupcake sale. Kolb said total funds raised from all fundraisers so far this year are about $2,500. The students were able to pay for first-grade student, Tsion T.’s, education in Ethiopia. With the additional funds, they plan to send three more girls to school in Ethiopia.
SJP assistant principal Paul Menard said many girls in developing countries aren’t taught basic sex education or personal-hygiene skills. They often cannot afford books or shoes to attend school. Some of the girls are removed from their homes in eighth grade to attend school, so they are not forced to be the main homemaker for their family at the age of 14.
Menard said the girls, because of the “She’s the First” program, not only receive monetary support, but they are also aware other students are supporting them.
“They are aware there are young ladies and men who are supporting and communicating the importance of education, and encouraging and supporting the students to continue on their educational path,” Menard said.
Menard said “She’s the First” is an organization that has gained momentum on the national level during the past several years. SJP students said they felt this was an organization that seeks to change the entire culture in developing countries, to give women equal access to education.
SJP was able to choose the country, and the organization assigns the students to sponsor.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the race begins at 9:30 a.m. Because this is a fundraising event, there will be no refunds due to weather cancellation. In case of cancellation, organizers will call the event by 6 a.m. and will send emails notifying participants.
For more information, visit www.runtheworld5k.eventbrite.com.