Life at DIS can get pretty hectic: homework, class projects, art, music, sports…students have a lot of responsibilities, and sometimes it can be hard to focus on anything other than the to-do list right in front of you.
But on Friday, March 9 at the upper school and Friday, March 16 at the lower school, all DIS students, teachers, staff and parents took time out of their busy schedules to think about and do something for others. Both campuses participated in their annual Race for a Cause, with the Waterview campus racing to build schools in Haiti and the Churchill campus racing to raise money for the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
To raise the funds, students, staff and faculty run laps around their respective campuses. The atmosphere is one of fun and camaraderie, with music playing in the background and parents and community members cheering on the runners. For each lap completed, donors pledge to give a certain amount to the campus’ cause. Jesse Llamas, the athletic director at DIS, acted as MC for the upper school race.
“I love seeing the kids work together for something other than themselves,” he said. “Seeing the smiles on their faces after they complete another lap is awesome.”
Llamas believes that participating in the race each year really changes young students.
“They are very aware that they’re taking away from their own personal time to give it to others who may be less fortunate,” he said. “They mature in a sense where they now realize how fortunate they are to be growing up in a scenario where they have more than just the basics.”
Through DIS’ partnerships with buildON, the organization that constructs schools in Haiti, and the Scottish Rite hospital, the races have helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for these special causes. But while students may do the (literal) legwork, parents play a very important part at the race as well as behind the scenes.
“The parents are great,” Llamas said. “They give donations, they count laps and most importantly they’re always there to cheer on their students.”
While the primary aim of the races is to help those in need, the students especially benefit from learning empathy and striving to more fully live the core of DIS’ mission statement: to become global citizens.
“Once the feeling of giving is established and they see what impact this has on the children’s lives, it sparks something inside them that makes them want to continue donating their time,” Llamas said. “I think that they realize now that it’s not always financial, but donating your time is especially valuable. They really learn selflessness.”