Growing from a simple idea to bring CFISD employees together and raise money for the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation (CFEF), the Superintendent’s Fun Run and Festival has grown into a community event that even Dr. Mark Henry, CFISD superintendent of schools, couldn’t imagine.
Now in its fifth year, the Fun Run and Festival has exceeded most – if not all – expectations. In addition to the 5K and 1-mile races, event organizers and support staff have been able to lean on numerous school, community and business partners, who have reciprocated through participation, sponsorships and support, helping turn races into a carnival-like atmosphere featuring on-site vendor booths, food trucks, bounce houses and student performance groups.
And the fifth edition, held March 24 at the Berry Center, was historic – representatives from CFISD and Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital, the event’s underwriter, presented the CFEF with a check worth $100,000, a total nearly doubling any of the Fun Run and Festival predecessors.
“That was my goal five years ago,” Dr. Henry said. “To eventually get to $100,000, but I thought it would take longer than this. But I will say that number is significant because that endows a scholarship for a student – $100,000 is a very, very nice scholarship for a student and that goes on into perpetuity. It never ends because we just take the interest and investment earnings off of that $100,000 and create a new scholarship every year so I’m really excited about that.”
The Fun Run and Festival featured a 5K and a 1-mile run that took place in and around the Berry Center and Lone Star College–CyFair. An added addition this year was the sleep-in pass, giving those who couldn’t attend an opportunity to still contribute.
Helping start the 5K was Arnstar from GoNoodle’s Blazer Fresh, who led race participants in stretching exercises before Dr. Henry signaled the official start. Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital, the event’s underwriter, sponsored GoNoodle Plus for CFISD K-6 teachers, students and parents for the 2017-2018 school year. A classroom movement program aimed to fuel learning through the power of movement, GoNoodle is used in 80 percent of U.S. elementary schools.
“The energy, the electricity – it was impactful,” Arnstar said. “And just to know that Blazer Fresh is making a difference in the way it is, I’m super grateful.”
In all, 60 sponsors helped make 2018’s Fun Run and Festival the biggest to date. That included Memorial Hermann Cypress, which has firmly entrenched itself as an ally of CFISD in just its first year. Hospital representatives were among the 80 vendor booths that helped give the event a carnival-like feel.
“Cy-Fair ISD knows how to do it right and knows how to put on an event,” said Heath Rushing, Memorial Hermann Cypress and Katy senior vice president and CEO. “We’re just proud to be a part of it.”
And while the Fun Run and Festival supports CFISD students through helping fund CFEF scholarships and other opportunities, the event also prominently featured hundreds of students of all ages.
More than 1,400 registered for the two races. More than 500 participated as volunteers. The 17 performances featured groups from a number of schools, including the Jersey Village High School cheerleaders, Andre’ Elementary School Leopard Steppers, Rennell Elementary School Redhawk Dance team, Cypress Ridge High School Dazzlers, Anthony Middle School Glee Club and Cypress Lakes High School R.E.D. Storm.
“One of the things I take great pride in is the adults that work and live in this district have great relationships with the students that go to school in this district,” Dr. Henry said. “That’s a culmination of great parenting, great school system and instilling in students the idea of giving back for the things they have so much to be thankful for. I just really appreciate all the parents, the teachers and the employees, and of course our students for making this a success.”