Newtown High School 2010 graduate Samantha Kent knew the weekend after the events of 12/14 that she wanted to create a community run on her current campus, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, that would help support Newtown students’ futures.
“I was looking for these kids to grow up into a legacy rather than a tragedy,” Kent said this week.
Miami University, she said, has always seemed to her as an extension of Newtown. Both places have a sense of home, she added.
Kent’s new home supported her when she shared her thoughts on holding a family walk/run that would go on to be called “Run Newtown 5K,” with all the proceeds going to the Newtown International Center for Education (NICE).
Registration for the Run Newtown 5K opened in March and will be open until the day of the run, April 28. Kent has also set up a donations page off of the run’s website, www.runnewtown.com, that will be open until the end of April for anyone to make donations.
“The money that we raise from registration fees and private donations will go toward a nonprofit organization in Newtown to ensure sustainable programming for the students of my district,” she wrote on the Run Newtown’s website. “The Newtown International Center for Education, also known as the NICE program, is the largest international program in New England and has grown exponentially since its inception five years ago. As one of the initial student ambassadors for the program, I have watched it grow into an organization with national esteem and international recognition. Three years after graduating from Newtown, I still refer back to my experiences with NICE.”
Kent specified this week that the proceeds from Run Newtown will support the Sandy Hook School’s Shanghai NICE team.
Newtown High School Assistant Principal and NICE Program Coordinator Jason Hiruo said Sandy Hook School’s sister school program with Shanghai was initiated two years ago through his efforts with Dawn Hochsprung, Sandy Hook School’s principal who was one of the victims on 12/14.
“The Jincai Elementary School is an exceptional school that mirrors much of the same mission that Sandy Hook School practices and is recognized as one of the top three leading elementary schools in Asia,” Hiruo said.
A study tour for the Sandy Hook School team to visit Shanghai was originally planned for this month, but has been postponed until next year, Hiruo said. He also said the Sandy Hook School team will connect with the principal and teachers of Jincai Elementary School to begin work on classroom collaboration, learn about each other’s school culture, and immerse themselves in the cultural learning of the international community of Shanghai.
“This was first established to bring more cultural awareness for students of Newtown,” Hiruo said. “The funds raised by Sam Kent will go to teacher scholarships and classroom resources for global education over the next years to come as the partnership gets underway. The partnership will be formalized next April when Newtown visits.”
Kent said anyone in the Midwest is welcome to participate in the Run Newtown 5K. So far, she said, the local school district in Oxford and town businesses have shown support for the Run Newtown 5K.
“We’re really trying to create and show people how powerful community is,” Kent said.