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Students at Pleasanton Middle School Raise Over $16,000 to Renovate School Track

The 'Track to Success Fun Run' event was started in 2012 by Nicole Zhang, a seventh grader.

PLEASANTON, Ca: 'Track to Success Fun Run' event at Pleasanton Middle School Photo provided by Pleasanton Middle School
PLEASANTON, Ca: 'Track to Success Fun Run' event at Pleasanton Middle School Photo provided by Pleasanton Middle School
by Pleasanton Middle School 

Pleasanton Middle School had its first Fun Run on Friday, November 8th
over $16,000 to renovate the school’s running track.

The “Track to Success” project was started by then seventh grade student Nicole 
Zhang in 2012. After observing many of her fellow students sustain injuries while 
using the track, she decided to personally take action to help make a difference in 
her community and improve the quality of the track. Nicole met with the school’s 
former principal, Mr. John Whitney and contacted PUSD officials including Mr. Larry 
Lagatta, Director of Maintenance, Operations, Facilities and Transportation for more 
information about how to proceed.
 
Many students as well as other runners who have used the track have experienced 
injuries related to running on the poor surface, which has generated great interest 
and concern not only at the school level but throughout the community. The current track is made of granite gravel, which can get embedded into students’ knees and elbows when they fall. Additionally, running on the surface creates a significant amount of dust that can cause breathing issues and the hardness of the granite does not provide shock absorption for students’ growing joints.

The school is looking toward having the new track reconstructed with a substance similar to the cinder clay surface at Hart Middle School. 

Nicole continued the project into the 2013-2014 school year as an eighth grader, 
and organized the Track to Success Fun Run as a major school-wide event to raise 
money towards this project. With the support of PE teachers, school staff, the PFA 
(Parent Faculty Association), volunteers, administration, and the PMS student 
Leadership class, the entire student body participated in the run event during 
their PE classes on November 8th.

Sponsors for this event included Castlewood  Country Club, Rinetti and Co. Realtors, NutriYummies, Balloons and Beyond, Rockin’ Jump and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

All students at PMS participated in the Fun Run. Students “gave it their all”, said 
one P.E. teacher. Students were striving to run the most laps within the designated 20-minute period. Parents, teachers, and administrators showed their support by coming out to the track area, cheering students on and running along with them. Music added to the enthusiasm and positive mood, while popsicles and red wristbands provided afterward rewarded students in another way and served as a reminder of their effort.

To add even more FUN to the event, Leadership made the day a special Crazy Hair spirit day! Many kids really enjoyed showing off fun, funky 
hairstyles.

Mrs. Aileen Parsons, the school principal, came out to show her support and even 
run a full lap during each class period. This, along with the participation of other 
teachers who came out during their lunch or prep to run with the kids showed 
great school spirit.

“I am so proud of the effort and teamwork to make this event 
such a success, and thrilled to see everyone having fun, being active and working 
for a great cause. This is a great example of what it looks like when one person 
with a vision can share that and create a community effort and make a difference. 
Nicole is an outstanding example of leadership and dedication, not to mention 
determination!” (Kristine DeVries, Leadership teacher)

Officials from Pleasanton Unified School District, Luz Cázares, Deputy 
Superintendent of Business Services and Larry Lagatta visited the school during the event to show their support.

“The Fun Run was great! It had an awesome set-up with all the decorations… 
Everyone I talked to had great things to say about it and were really positive,” said 
Connor Dubiel, an eighth grade student at Pleasanton Middle. 

Congratulations to Aidan McIntyre, Gerardo Vazquez, Laura Stavila, Angelica Alger, 
Tomas Barrera-Lozano, Aidan Boyle, Daisy Eggert, Savanna Sadler, Owen Camp, 
and Sam Chase, Kaitlin Cartwright, and Leila Shafi for running the most laps in their grade. These students were each treated to a mini Bundt cake prize. Students in the classes of Mrs. Teitell, Mr. Farro, and Mrs. DeVries were awarded pizza parties for raising the most money in their grade level.

To date, the Track to Success project has raised over $18,000. The Pleasanton 
Middle School 2013 Track to Success Fun Run “brought the school and community 
together to support the improvement of our school’s track.”

If you are interested in supporting this cause, please contact Principal Aileen 
Parsons at aparsons@pleasantonusd.net or Leadership Teacher Kristine DeVries at 
kdevries@pleasantonusd.net .

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