Last weekend, the town of Roseboro celebrated the start of May with a community event — the May Day Affair — on Saturday, May 4. One of the major highlights of the community day was a 5K run created and organized by Roseboro Elementary School.
Race participants began putting foot to pavement at 9 a.m., beginning and ending the run on Railroad Street between the town’s park and the Railroad Street Steakhouse.
“We had 119 people register for the run and 101 showed up and actually ran,” shared Jessica Eason, guidance counselor at Roseboro Elementary and one of the race’s main organizers.
Thrilled with the good turnout, Eason noted that all ages and levels of experience were represented in the race. “All ages were invited to participate. I think the youngest one we had to register was a six year old and the oldest was probably in their seventies. Age didn’t matter and neither did ability. You didn’t have to run. We had some walkers.”
It was appropriate for community members of every age to be involved given how the idea for Roseboro’s first 5K came about.
Girls on the Run/Team P.R.I.D.E., an after-school program in its first year at Roseboro Elementary, was the inspiration for the community race.
According to Eason, Girls on the Run is a YMCA program out of Wilmington and Team P.R.I.D.E. is the Roseboro Elementary’s team. “We are the first school in this area to do this program and it’s a wonderful. The girls love it.”
P.R.I.D.E. stands for positive, respectful, independent, determined, and extraordinary, all characteristics the school wants its young female students to possess.
“There is a whole curriculum that goes with the program. It teaches the girls that it is okay to be yourself. You don’t have to be a follower. You can step out of the box and be who you are,” explained Eason. “It really helps them develop character, and then of course there is the running and exercise aspect of it.”
Thanks to the after-school program, many girls at Roseboro Elementary have discovered their love for running and for being part of a team, and they were excited to be able to participate in a 5K right in their hometown and with all their friends and family.
“I was very excited about our race! I was proud of myself because I didn’t give up,” said third-grader Emily Flores. “I love being a part of Team P.R.I.D.E. because I have fun and get to exercise. I am sad that it is over.”
“I was excited about our race on Saturday. I was ready to win,” added fellow third-grader Breanna Smith. “I learned through Team P.R.I.D.E. I can trust the girls on my team.”
“The race was a life-changing experience and it felt like we were helping something grow or get better,” noted fifth-grader Rolonda Parker.
Race participants paid $25 to register to run prior to the day of the race or $35 to register on the day of the race. The registration fee included a Running with P.R.I.D.E. T-shirt and bracelet.
Although she did not have a final total yet, Eason shared that “we should have raised about $1,500” and explained that the funds will go toward keeping the Girls on the Run/ Team P.R.I.D.E. after-school program going at the school.
“We want to be able to pay for our kids to be involved in the program. We don’t want them to have to worry about having to pay for it,” noted Eason, adding that the school would also like to start the boys’ version of the same after-school program which is known as Stride.
The positive effects that Team P.R.I.D.E is having on the students involved is obvious, made very clear by the girls’ enthusiasm for the program.
“Team PRIDE means a whole lot to me. At the race I felt like, ‘I can do this.’ I never gave up as I have full faith in me. Nobody can stop me. I will always be myself,” shared fourth grader Ashlee Spates.
Fellow fourth-grader Dakota Brennan added that “Team P.R.I.D.E. is a place to have fun and get to know other people. It teaches us that there are positive and negative things in life. Team PRIDE also keeps us fit and healthy.”
“Girls on the Run/Team P.R.I.D.E. has been such a wonderful group to be in and I’m so happy that I could be in it. I hope it lasts a very long time so others could experience it,” attested fifth grader Zanaya Brown.
Thanks to the community’s support and involvement, Team P.R.I.D.E. is set to be fixture at Roseboro Elementary for years to come, something the coaches are equally excited about.
“I was extremely pleased with the dedication and hard work that Team P.R.I.D.E. has shown to put this race together, and very excited with the community’s participation and support. I hope it continues to help this annual event grow every year,” said the school’s P.E. teacher Megan Strickland.
“I was so proud of all the girls on Saturday. They were dedicated and determined to finish the race. Team P.R.I.D.E. has been a wonderful experience for our girls at RES and I look forward to watching this program grow and prosper each year,” added fourth grade teacher Betsy Autry.
Fellow fourth-grade teacher Randi Kay McMillan shared, “I am very proud of the hard work and dedication these girls have put in over the last year. This program has helped these girls grow so much and learn that it’s okay to be yourself. The look of accomplishment they have on their faces once they finish makes every minute in this program worth it.”
Roseboro Elementary principal Tonya Colwell couldn’t be prouder of the new program and attested to positive impact it is having on everyone involved.”Team P.R.I.D.E. has been an awesome program for the participants as well as the coaches. The girls have definitely moved forward throughout the year. Witnessing them having had the opportunity to experience places that they have never been and being a part of the first Team P.R.I.D.E. run are a couple highlights of my year.”
“I would like to thank the Town of Roseboro, our 5k participants, parents, and numerous volunteers for the role they played in helping Team PRIDE put on this event. A special thank you to our RES Team PRIDE coaches Jessica Eason, Betsy Autry, Megan Strickland, Ashley Honeycutt, and Randi Kaye McMillan. These ladies put in countless hours, week after week, to ensure that our girls were always moving forward. The 5k run was a huge undertaking but these coaches had a vision and they worked diligently to make it come to reality,” continued Colwell. “It is our hope that we will be able to include more students next year.”
As decision-makers for the town of Roseboro, the town commissioners were “so excited when the teachers from Roseboro Elementary presented their 5K idea,” shared commissioner Alice Butler, grateful for the school’s active and positive involvement in the community. “They did a wonderful job organizing it and also had a great turn-out. These teachers literally went the extra mile for their students. Seeing all the smiles on the participants was a sure sign that everyone enjoyed it and we hope this was just the first of many 5K runs in Roseboro.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.