Suffolk stampede raises money and supplies


Suffolk alumni, students, faculty, and friends congregated to the Boston Common Bandstand on Sunday afternoon for the inaugural Stampede into Spring Break “Fun Run.”  The two-mile run raised money and supplies for the Elliot School, the only remaining public school in the North End.

The Elliot School, which opted to forfeit their supply budgets in the wake of recent funding cuts for Boston Public Schools, chose to forgo this money in order to save a teaching position. As a result, they have been forced to ask parents to fund their supply needs.

Suffolk, fortunately, was able to lend many helping hands.

The Alumni Association, along with current Suffolk students, organized the race asking for only one thing: donations as an entrance fee, with all proceeds going to the Elliot School.  A major theme in the event was the importance of alumni aid and affiliation, and more importantly, community as a whole.

“Everybody understands the tough environment we all face today,” said John McDonnell, class of 2010. “Unemployment is 8.9 percent. We need to interact with one another.”

Running groups and individuals, some clad in ram costumes, Red Sox shirts, and even more with yellow and blue hair-dye ran around the perimeter of the Common– some of the runners were students, while some were small children and faculty of both schools. While the race was not so much a mad dash to the finish, it was more of a collective push for community, pride and generosity.

“We’re all about community, we’re all about Boston, and we’re all about supporting education and children,” said President Barry Brown.  “And by being out here today, you’re indicating that that spirit of Suffolk– that ambition– is on… This is the first of a tradition that I think is going to build and build. I think it’s a wonderful thing for us, and particularly the students of the Elliot School.”

Freshman Lila Farino attributed her drive to cross the finish line mainly to the cause. “I feel so accomplished,” she said after the two-mile trek.  “I’m trying to get back into running, and this motivated me even more to finish.”

Suffolk’s revamped mascot, Rammy, was in attendance, amidst the pumping of music throughout the Common’s lengths. In addition,  the beautifully breezy 55 degree weather kept spirits high, and hearts open.

“The weather gods have all agreed that the Suffolk-Elliot partnership is the most important event that will happen this month– other than MCAS,” said Traci Walker Griffith, principal of the Elliot School, amidst laughter from the audience.  This partnership, present and past, does not go unnoticed. There have been many Suffolk students and classes who participate in programs at the Elliot School, including JumpStart, work-study, and volunteering.

“For a school like the Elliot… to have such a powerful partnership with such a wonderful university as Suffolk, we are eternally grateful,” Griffith said. “I want you to know from the bottom of the Elliot School heart that we are truly thankful not only for the supplies, but for the connections that you’re making to our students as models for their future as citizens [while] giving back to their community- which is what you’re doing today.”