With all interscholastic races and competitions canceled for the fall season, what motivated our student-athletes to continue practicing and training? Most teams at Cardigan continued holding traditional Saturday games and races, but this year the boys’ opponents were their classmates. Teams for competition days included players with varying abilities and they played in round-robin tournaments against other all-Cardigan teams. For individual sports like mountain biking and cross country running, the boys focused on improving their personal course records, cutting seconds, and for some minutes, from the beginning of the season to the end and using friendly competitions with their classmates to build each other into stronger competitors.
But for the boys on the cross country running team, there was additional motivation, as they decided to run for two important causes. First, in early September, the team organized a 5km race to raise money for the “Get Your Vote On” campaign, organized by When We All Vote, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization with the goal to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap. In conjunction with Positive Tracks, the team motivated over 65 members of the Cardigan community to join the 5km run, raising $350 for the campaign and raising awareness for election voting.
The cross country running team, in conjunction with Cardigan’s National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), also organized a second 5km run to raise money for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD). The CHaD HERO began as a half marathon event in Hanover, NH in 2006, but it has grown to include a 5km race, a 1-mile fun run, hikes, bikes, and a virtual quest that allows participants to choose an activity and support CHaD from anywhere in the world. At Cardigan this year, the fundraising efforts began with a 5km race on the cross-country trails. The event was again open to all Cardigan community members.
“My favorite part of these events was the community coming together to support the same cause,” says Brian Xi ’21, who is not only a co-captain of the Cross Country Team but also a member of NJHS. “Students on campus were willing to take the time and energy to support CHaD and help other people out.”
The NJHS also organized a 3 vs. 3 basketball tournament—students paid $1 to participate—and Quarters for Quarters during which students could run laps around Marrion Field, earning money for the Cardigan snack bar for themselves AND money for CHaD! This time the donations to CHaD were made by the parents of Zhefu “Jeff” Lei ’22.
“The events went really well,” history teacher Donna Fedele told Verbatim staff reporter Seonghoen “Harold” Kim ’21 during an October interview. “The members of NJHS communicated with people like Mr. Novak and Mr. LeRoy to schedule the event and then publicized it at the all school meetings…And the community really showed up to the events and participated. We had 50 student participants and we ran over 120 miles in an hour and a half in total.”
The energy of middle-school boys is bottomless, and what better way to put it to use than to raise money for some very important causes. Despite the pandemic, the Cardigan community is finding ways to give back and care for those in need.