Bruins on the Run wrapped up its 5th Fall Season October 21st with a record number of students and mentors completing the Run the Streets’ Woolaroc 8K. After training for eight weeks, 118 Bartlesville Public Schools fifth graders and 59 volunteer mentors (predominantly teachers) participated in the Woolaroc 8K race. This free, after-school running and mentoring program for fifth graders is funded by the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation.
The mentoring initiative started as a partnership with the local organization, Run the Streets. Funded by seed money from the Bartlesville Community Foundation, Bruins on the Run has grown from being offered at just two elementary schools to welcoming 5th graders from all six elementary schools across the district. The BPS Foundation sustains the funding for the program through individual donations, corporate sponsors, and local grants; using the funds to provide running shoes, t-shirts, and race registrations for all student participants.
Students run with their teacher mentors after school three days a week, participate in the Miles for Mammograms 5K mid-season, and wrap up their experience by running in the Woolaroc 8K. Although the program is available to all fifth graders, it targets students who do not otherwise have access to extracurricular activities, giving them the benefits of quality mentoring and regular physical activity.
Many of the students in the program have never run before, but by the end of their eight week training, they are able to complete the very hilly Woolaroc 8K and do something they never thought possible. Bruins on the Run has a distinct impact on not just the physical wellbeing of the students, but also on their confidence and ability to set and achieve goals. The program gives teachers and students the opportunity to engage with each other outside of the classroom- strengthening student-teacher relationships, and improving classroom behavior. Moreover, by teaching students the importance of commitment and consistency, the program is preparing them for success throughout their academic careers and beyond.
Superintendent Chuck McCauley and his wife, Jennifer, personally sponsor BPS employees who want to participate in the Woolaroc 8K as a part of the Superintendent’s Wellness Initiative. McCauley encourages his staff to prioritize their health and leads by example, supporting both this staff initiative and the Bruins on the Run program while participating in the race himself.
As an added challenge for some of the faster student runners, Superintendent McCauley recognized 22 students who finished the 8K before him with “Beat the Supt” t-shirts after the race.
This year, Bruins on the Run saw participation of 20%-40% of the 5th graders at each school. The sustainability and expansion of the Bruins on the Run program depends on continued support from the Bartlesville community. A $50 donation pays for a student’s pair of shoes; $250 covers all program costs for a student. To donate, make a check payable to “BPSF” at 1100 S. Jennings, Bartlesville OK 74003, noting “Bruins on the Run” in the memo line, donate online at bpsfoundation.org/donate, or call our office 918-336-8600 ext 3523 for more information.