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Running key component to St. Joseph School students 'Positive Directions' week


Eighth graders at St. Joseph School prepare with a practice run for next week's Positive Directions week. The students are wearing T-shirts that say “You are the Star in the Movie ‘Life’.” From left are Hector Marquez, 14; Mary Caye McCann, 14; Sam Pfeiffer, 14; Libby Sadowski, 14; and Julianna Sim 14.

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The eighth grade students of St. Joseph School in Sylvania have taken a practice run in preparation for the 5K and 3K race on May 11.

The race, called Best Foot Forward Challenge, is part of a week-long initiative to educate the junior high students about positive decision making in life.

The race is the finale event of the 27th annual Positive Direction week that kick’s off Tuesday, May 7.

All 143 junior high students of St. Joe's school, at 5411 Main St., will take part in the events planned throughout the week, including the run through streets near the school and Lourdes University.

The week was started in the 1980s as way to prepare eighth graders and other students mentally, spiritually, and physically for the challenges of high school.

“As students approach high school, we feel it is important to educate them of the consequences of abusing drug and alcohol," said Sally Koppinger, principal of the school. "And we want them to know they have the support of the community as they face these difficult situations.”

“Participating in the race teaches us perseverance. That whatever challenges big or small come up to persevere through them," Sam Pfeiffer, 14, of Sylvania, said.

"Having us grow closer to God is important. He is important in my life and for my future.”

The week’s events are centered around a theme created by seventh grader Samantha Orcutt: “You are the Star in the Movie ‘Life.’”

Driven by this theme, students have been asked to consider their own life as a movie, and God its producer.

Essays were written by students about this topic, and the winners will be announced at the kick off event next week that includes a parent and student breakfast at the church, and guest speakers Marcellino and Anthony D’Ambrosio, who founded the ministry Crossroads Pursuit of Fort Worth, Texas. The twin brothers will speak to youth about sexual abstinence, the value of family, and love of Jesus Christ.

In step with the week’s theme, students will wear the T-shirts designed by the young Orcutt, and will spend May 8 helping a handful of organizations in the community by  volunteering at Sylvania Area Family Services in Sylvania, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio in Toledo, and the Toledo Seagate Food Bank.

Sylvania resident Julianna Sim, 14, was wearing the themed T-shirt after her training run last Friday. She said the week and physical aspect to it encourages students to make good decisions and to perform their personal best, whether running or in life.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or ntrusso@theblade.com. 

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