St. Anthony Teams Up With George Washington High

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Published on April 4 2013 12:15 pm
Last Updated on April 4 2013 12:15 pm
Written by Millie Lange

Five years ago, two young teachers, Kristen Kennedy and Jennifer Reed, volunteered to try and begin track and cross country programs at their school, George Washington High School, on the south side of Chicago. These young ladies faced long odds. The school did not have a track and cross country budget. There was no track. Running through the neighborhood was not possible as it was too dangerous. Door-to-door fundraising also was impossible because of the prevalence of gang activity. Despite the odds, Kennedy and Reed started a winter running program where 50 kids showed up, all without running shoes.

At that time, Mike Mitchell, junior varsity girls basketball coach at St. Anthony High  School in Effingham, heard about Kennedy and Reed's plans and reached out to them. Mitchell spearheaded efforts to get St. Anthony High School involved, which began a relationship between the two schools. Over three years and with support from the Effingham community, St. Anthony High School has been able to donate more than 200 pairs of shoes along with more than $1,000 to their programs. Various track equipment and apparel also have been gathered for the George Washington athletes.

To help GWHS prepare for the 2013 season, St. Anthony High School is holding a fundraiser Thursday, April 4. Students who donated a gently used pair of running shoes or made a monetary donation to GWHS were allowed to wear jeans and T-shirts today.

George Washington High School will be St. Anthony's guests for a track meet Saturday, April 6 at noon. After the meet, St. Anthony parent volunteers will provide a cookout for both groups of kids. The day promises to be a very exciting event for both schools as their relationship continues to grow.