Some ran like the proverbial wind. Others took their time.

Either way, students at St. Louise de Marillac Catholic School in Upper St. Clair got plenty of exercise while helping their academic institution.

Kindergartners through eighth-graders participated in the 17th annual Amazing Race for Catholic Education, cleverly stylized as R4CE, on the sunny afternoon of Oct. 9. A capacity crowd of well-wishers cheered them on as they completed a one-mile course around the back of the school property.

Kate Sohocki

Third-grader Kate Sohocki crosses the finish line.

The school has a fundraising requirement of some $255,000 this year. And the R4CE is going a long way toward that goal, bringing in more than $99,000, according to director of advancement Tracey Buckley.

“We have over 700 signs from sponsors, from family members, from friends,” Tracey Buckley, the parish’s director of advancement, said. “The kids send out letters and emails that are personalized, and within two weeks, we get that much money. So it truly is an amazing race.”

The number of signs represented an increase of 100-plus from last year, Buckley said. They lined parts of the R4CE course, which started in the school’s upper athletic field and advanced through the parking lot, around the lower field and back again.

The students completed the course by grade, kindergartners first, with each grade representing a different country, wearing color-coordinated T-shirts and carrying banners they created in art class. They also had lessons about their countries leading up to R4CE day.

In the center of the parking lot were parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins – you name it – taking plenty of photos and videos as they provided high-energy encouragement.

The school starts preparing for the R4CE in mid-summer, with alumni and current students helping pre-stuff envelopes, and teachers and parents making sure everything gets sent to where it needs to go, to the tune of 2,860 letters and 747 emails this year.

To everyone’s delight, when the big day arrived, the bright, not-to-hot, not-too-cold weather conditions cooperated fully.

And, you might say, amazingly.

St. Louise second-graders

Harry Funk/The Almanac

St. Louise second-graders, representing Team Ireland, head along the home stretch.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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