October sixth. 10 runners. A damp track with the remnants of a cross town football game that took place the night before. Cones circle the perimeter of the school. 3… 2… 1. The runners take off and sprint, their goal set, and minds on one thing: the finish line. Meanwhile, HOSA members evaluate the outcome of weeks of hard work, as they have reached their finish line: a successful 5K.
HOSA, the Health Occupation Students of America club hosted their Racing Hearts 5K on October sixth, and it had its members anticipating the outcome. Senior and HOSA President Josh Mabazza said that he was just hoping that people would participate and help the cause through supporting the run.
“We just hope to have a good time, just get people to get to know people, and support a good cause for the American Heart Association,” Mabazza said. “This would be the first annual OE run, so it kind of expands OEHS, and what we do. So we are not just a football school, every school is a football school, but … this school hosted a 5K.”
HOSA sponsor Robyn Mellas said the theme of hearts this year was going to raise a decent amount of money for the cause.
“We are [giving the money] to the American Heart Association this year, which was a nice theme to have too, because everything we are giving away is heart themed. Hopefully, I think we are going to raise about 300 dollars to donate,” Mellas said.
Members of HOSA had been planning this event for weeks, ever since the first meeting of this year. Freshman Murad Khamis said that the run would not benefit the club so much, as the main goal was to raise money for the AHA.
“I think [the run] is mostly to benefit the American Heart Association because it will help them raise funds for people who have heart disease or heart issues, and could use help,” Khamis said.
Khamis said that he believed the run would bring an awareness to the cause and inspire the community to help donate to those in need, through supporting the 5K.
“[I think the run will develop] basically a mentality that there are people out there who need help, and we are the ones who can help them, and you could too if you tried,” Khamis added.
The run would be held at East, and friends and families of the runners were to gather around and cheer for their runners. The run included teachers from all over the district, and was advertised to everyone in the community as a way to support a good cause.
Senior and HOSA secretary Krupa Parmar explained that the run would be a way for the community to get together, and help the AHA as one community.
“We are excited to bring the community together for a good purpose,” Parmar said.
Junior member Julia Gomez said that she believed in the same purpose, as she said that the money raised for the organization will help those in need.
“I think that the run will benefit the club because it’ll raise awareness for the American Heart Association, and the money that we are raising through the 5K is going to them anyways, so it’ll really help the patients in it, or get them whatever supplies that they need,” Gomez said.
An additional, unexpected benefit of the run would be the publicity HOSA gets as result of it being a success. Sophomore Ashlee Gacek said that she thought the run would help the club gain a presence, while helping raise money for a good cause.
“I think [the run] will bring recognition to cub and show that we really care about heart health and trying to make people get better and recognize that they can use the run to benefit those in need,” Gacek said.
“This would be the first annual OE run, so it kind of expands OEHS, and what we do. So we are not just a football school, every school is a football school, but … this school hosted a 5K.”
— senior & HOSA President Josh Mabazza
A lack in participation
Last school year, HOSA attempted to host a different 5K that was supposed to benefit patients suffering from melanoma. However, due to low participation, the run was cancelled. Julia Gomez said that this year, the club tried focusing on advertising and getting people to participate.
“[We really need] just a bunch of participation, so we can get some fundraising for the AHA … Just really getting the school involved,” Gomez said.
Parmar said that compared to last year, they had some success planning and advertising this year. However, she expressed her concern that the run had not stirred up enough publicity, so the amount of people who participated was still not ideal.
“I think it was kind of hard last year to gain participation, so this year we tried doing different things, such as making fliers, and offering incentives for club members, like volunteer hours, so that was different from last year,” Parmar said. “We had some success with it, but not as much as we would have wanted, but still a decent amount.”
Gomez explained the major reasons for the failed run last year. She attributed the downfall to a lack of advertisement, organization, and participation. She did however, mention that the run had a better turnout, with about 10 people signed up to donate their time and money.
“[Last year’s Melanoma 5k] was a very short amount of time to really organise everything and advertise it as well, so there wasn’t enough organization in the way that we put the message out there for this run,” Gomez said. “Also, in my opinion, not a lot of people pay to run, voluntarily, but for good causes you never know, but last year nobody signed up, that’s why it did not happen.”
Science teacher Hayley Morganegg said that she had planned on running at the Melanoma 5K, but did not as a result of its cancellation. However, this year she planned on running for the Racing Hearts 5K as a result of better planning.
“I feel like at least [this year’s run] was advertised and organised, I least I could register online. Last year, it just kind of fizzled,” Morganegg said.
Mellas said that the turnout of last year’s 5K, and this year’s Racing Hearts run has shown her that runs are not the best way to attract participation because people do not like to run anymore, and the numbers from the 5Ks have reflected that. However, she said that raising money for the charity is more important than numbers.
“I think we have concluded that people don’t really like to run that much, so I think going forward, we are not going to try another 5K, we are probably going to try something with food, but we gave it our best shot,” Mellas said. “We were concerned that last year we didn’t get the word out, but as long as we are raising money, I guess [the run] is good.”
Mabazza said that participation last year was not good as the only runner was the president’s mom. He said that this year the club really focused on personalizing their advertisements in order to raise the number of participants in the run.
“So this year we really reached out to our community, we went door to door… so it was like major publicity,” Mabazza said.
The club was just happy that they had some runners for this year, and that they get to make a donation to the AHA this year, regardless of the amount of participants.
“I think it will be great that we will be able to make a donation to the American Heart Association, no matter how big or small, it ends up being a positive thing, and I think it helps the members feel good, and feel like they’ve contributed, so I’m excited about that,” Mellas said.
The day of the run
October sixth. A damp track, and 10 runners. They start the race, and all finish within an hour. There were three winners. Hayley Morganegg came in first, Christopher Mabazza came in second, and Kenzie Lee came in third. HOSA volunteers gathered around, and congratulated one another on a successful Racing Hearts 5K.
Christopher Mabazza, a participant in the run, came in second place. He said he felt the 5K was a success in his opinion, and that the race was planned really well.
“I felt my energy lost in the first half, but we made it. It is for the kids, so I enjoyed very much. [HOSA] did an awesome job [organizing],” Christopher said.
Laura Wachowski, a sponsor in Mellas’s absence, said that she was very pleased at the outcome of the race, and that everyone did a good job, being the volunteers and the runners.
“I think the runners all had a good time, and the weather was very cooperative, so that was really great. It would have been nice to have some extra runners, but it is hard to motivate people to run, and other than that, all the volunteers did really well, and everything was set up really nicely, so it all worked out really well,” Wachowski said.
Christopher Mabazza said that the run went very well, and it was a success. He said he believed that the community coming together to help those in need, that was what mattered, not his win.
“All the participation and help of the kids and the parents, that’s what counts. And the enjoyment, not just the win,” Christopher said.
Amidst all the running and action, behind the scenes HOSA members though that the run went very smoothly, and were ecstatic, as the run was a success, especially compared to last year. Josh Mabazza was very excited about the outcome of the run.
“I think it was a 100 percent success, maybe like a 110 percent success too, because for one we got people to participate; runners and volunteers, and the weather was great, and the sponsors, and the t-shirts, I think everything just worked out on October 6th,” Mabazza said.
Parmar said that the 5K was a success, however, she said she thought it was not going to go well, but was surprised at the fact that it was a success.
“I was anticipating some bumps in the road, but everything went pretty smoothly, so I would say I am pretty happy with the outcome,” Parmar said.
HOSA Vice-President Jessica Luc said that she felt the run was a big success, and was very happy that the runners came had fun, and raised money for the AHA, because in the end, that was the ultimate goal.
“I think the race was a really good success, there was great turnout, and we raised a lot of money for the American Heart Association, and we just had fun,” Luc said.
Mabazza added that the run was a feat for Oswego East, as this was the first 5K in East’s history. Even though 10 runners showed up, he thought the race went really well, and set a precedent for East history.
“We are just grateful that we got the opportunity to do this this year and that we held OE’s first 5K.”