By Danielle Smith
Leader Staff Writer
Look out, Oxford, this town is about to get a colorful makeover.
Oxford Middle School is preparing to host its Second Annual Color Run on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the OMS track starting at 10 a.m. Everyone is invited to run, or walk, this vibrant 5k event at 1420 Lakeville Rd.
The Color Run has been a nationwide phenomena for the past several years with numerous runs being held right here in Michigan. But, there is a specific reason behind this one: helping teachers enhance the classroom experience for students.
Money raised from this event will go into a supply fund to be divided among those that teach at OMS. Funds will be spent on various items to further enrich their classroom environments.
Cassandra McNeill, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at OMS, said many teachers spend “hundreds of dollars per year” of their own money to purchase extra items.
“We have the things that we absolutely need . . . but we don’t have those things that, (we) as teachers . . . hope to have for our kids to make (the learning experience) so much more because they deserve it,” she said. “So, what we end up doing is putting our own money into it because that’s just who we are and that’s our nature and I wanted to help with that.”
McNeill explained money raised by the Color Run is not used for one specific thing.
“The reason for that is we all teach a little differently, we have different subjects, we have different dynamics in our classrooms, we have things we have already purchased ourselves, so the needs for each teacher (are) a little different so let them decide because they know their classroom best,” she said.
While some may view these items, such as alternative seating, new paint and different objects to challenge students, as luxuries, McNeill argued they are necessary to help improve the educational experience.
“It makes things so much more engaging (for students),” she said. “They get so much more involved and kids walk out of (the classroom) happy and feeling comfortable and feeling loved and feeling like they had an amazing day. Something as simple as being able to choose the seat that they sit in or have something more comfortable than a desk can make a world of difference when you’re sitting in a classroom for an hour. So, it’s not that it has to happen, it’s that it is so much better for (the) kids when they have that extra little push in our classrooms.”
The goal for this year’s Color Run is to raise $8,000 for the supply fund, which McNeill said would make a big difference.
“Class sizes are a lot bigger than what they used to be . . . I have 34 to 35 kids in every single one of my classes this year . . . When I get $100 for an entire school year and I have over 200 kids that I see, that spreads really thin,” McNeill said.
Last year, approximately $1,500 was raised with 107 participants in the Color Run. This year, with more knowledge, experience and preparation, McNeill is hopeful these numbers will increase.
Registration for the Color Run ends Monday, Sept. 23. The $30 entry fee gets participants a T-shirt and color powder packet. The event is $15 for those who wish to run without the Color Run shirt. Donations are always welcome.
“What I really hope is for us to have a big community event where . . . people can have fun and enjoy each other and get to know each other better,” McNeill said.
To register for the Color Run, please visit oxfordmiddle.myfunrun.com or sign up in person at OMS.