Bridging the Opportunity Divide

One Day, One Man, and a Six-Figure Fundraiser Run

November 18, 2014
by
Menu
One Day, One Man, and a Six-Figure Fundraiser Run
This outrageous jog will help fund the school’s 50 student activity clubs and 25 sports teams. Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Going the distance is this school principal's message.

Plenty of people go for daily runs. Considerably fewer people go for day-long runs.

But that’s just what Dan O’Keefe, principal of Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx, N.Y., did recently to raise money for the school’s 25 sports teams and 50 activity clubs, and the effect has been more than he or anybody else could’ve hoped for.

O’Keefe is an ultra-marathon runner, and the NY Daily News reports that he competes in 100-mile races twice a year. So it wasn’t too much of a stretch for him to converge a passion for his students and for running into one.

“I constantly challenge the students at Spellman to achieve their limits and beyond… to give 100 percent, to achieve 100 percent and to be present 100 percent in everything they do,” says O’Keefe in a press release. “I was pondering different ways of making that message real for them as I was on a long run one day… I would challenge myself mentally and physically but I would also challenge the students to participate in the spirit of the event.”

He called the effort Achieve 100 and challenged each of his 1,400 students to each raise 100 dollars, reminding them that, “whether it’s a hundred on a test or a hundred on a report card or run a hundred miles, if you put your mind to it you can do it.” NY1 reports that the students raised over $10,000.

O’Keefe began running at 6 a.m. on a Friday and didn’t stop until 5:49 a.m. the next morning when he finished the last of 403.25 laps around the high school’s 400m track — 100 miles total. Stopping only for short bathroom breaks, according to the school’s website, “students, faculty, alumni, parents, coaches, and even neighbors from the community” ran laps with O’Keefe and “brought food, made donations, and cheered [him] on.”

The biggest surprise of all came a few minutes after he finished the run when the Achieve 100 donation webpage received an anonymous gift of $100,000, which Cardinal Spellman’s Vice-President of Alumni & Advancement, Jennifer Rivera, says “will be make so much possible for our great school.”

We can’t help but agree with student Samantha Grant: “I just want to do what he’s doing.”

MORE: One Man’s Inspiring Rise from Sweeping the Hallways to Calling the Shots

Comments