For William Nguyen, his goals of running, having fun, being with friends and eating some pizza were being achieved May 3 when the Yorktown High School junior participated in Life Skills 5K Mighty Mile.
“The best part is it’s fun and I get to run,” said Nguyen, who wanted to finish six laps around the Washington-Lee High School track. “I only have a couple left.”
The third annual event has been held each year in early May at the W-L track, this year including 75 special-education students from Arlington’s middle and high schools. For one hour starting at 10 a.m., the goal of each participant, wearing yellow race cards along with red T-shirts donated by Brown’s Honda of Arlington, was to complete as many laps as possible, either running or walking.
Each runner received a medal and was invited to eat pizza, donated by Bob & Edith’s Diner, inside the school from 11 a.m. until noon.
Emily Andrusko, a 16-year life-skills teacher at W-L, was the event organizer, and along with W-L physical education teacher Adam Moir, one who initiated the Mighty Mile.
Andrusko said the idea is to provide life-skills students the opportunity to challenge themselves physically, connect with peers socially, and represent their school.
“We want to get students involved in things like this and involved with their peers as much as possible. It’s a nice end-of-year event, and the students enjoy it,” Andrusko said. “It keeps growing. We had 35 students the first year. A lot of different people are involved in this, and look, a lot students come out to watch.”
Volunteers from the county, parents, and from Brown’s Honda handed out water. Washington-Lee assistant principal Claire Peters and assistant director of student activities Justin Bolfek ran laps, as did other teachers. Yorktown High head golf coach and school sports announcer Chris Williams was the announcer and in charge of the music.
“The interest has kept growing each year, and the students enjoy their time with each other,” Williams said. “It’s a fun event.”
Brown’s Honda general manager Kurt Kessler was on hand at the event to see the 250 bright red T-shirts his company donated.
“We like to support this each year because it’s a great school and community event,” Kessler said. “We like to support things like this.”