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Community kicks off school year at Run Back to School race

Run Back to School 2021

“Excitement is truly in the air!”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Keith P. Posley kicked off the festivities at Wick Playfield this weekend, where there was a sense of renewal and anticipation for the 14th annual Run Back to School race. On Saturday, Aug. 28, hundreds of runners, volunteers, community leaders, staffers, and students safely gathered for the 5K run/1.5-mile walk through Washington Park to celebrate the start of the 2021-22 school year.

The 2021-22 MPS academic year began on Aug. 16 for those schools on the early start calendar; schools on the traditional calendar open on Sept. 2.

After shifting to a series of virtual challenges in 2020, the Run Back to School returned in person this summer to its traditional spot on the final Saturday of August. The positive energy was palpable throughout the entire morning, as the greater MPS community joined together in the spirit of school unity.

MPS alumni, teachers, administrators, parents, students, and southeastern Wisconsinites all attended the run to support MPS' growth within the city. Proceeds from the event are used to support youth recreation, wellness, and sports programs throughout the district.

Schools that have at least 25 registrants also receive a $500 mini-grant for the wellness programs at their school. This year, eight schools hit the 25-person mark, including MacDowell Montessori, Milwaukee German Immersion, Fernwood Montessori, South Division High School, Hamilton High School, Milwaukee School of Excellence, Zablocki School, and IDEAL School. The School Social Workers group and the MPS Office of Human Resources also turned out for the Run Back to School with over 25 participants.

MacDowell Montessori put together the largest school-based team, and therefore received a $1,000 grant for youth recreation and wellness programs. In the past, schools have used the grant money to purchase new youth sports uniforms, gym and sports equipment, sports registration fees, the rental of the Wacky Wheels Skate Van, and more.

Mandela BarnesSeveral prominent community leaders joined the district’s families and staff at the race this year, including Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Mayor Tom Barrett. Barnes, an MPS grad (Marshall High School) himself, appreciates the value of the Run Back to School race.

“This kind of run brings the community together in the interest of supporting our schools,” Barnes said, shortly after breaking through the finish line tape first. “I just want to see this event continue to grow, and I am excited to participate.”

Run Back to School also included music, awards for the top finishers in each age group, and carnival games for kids. MPS also provided a COVID-19 vaccine clinic on site for all age-eligible community members.

The 2021 Run Back to School was made possible with generous support from United Healthcare, Educators Credit Union, Voya Financial, Goodwill Industries, Gruber Law Offices, NVA, and Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Company.

Thank you to all of our sponsors for this year's event, as well as our participants and volunteers. We look forward to seeing you next year to celebrate the 15th annual edition of the run!

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2021
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