H-F art students win top prizes and scholarships in two competitions

The weather Saturday morning at the start of the annual Foundation 153 Fund Run was a bit north of humid, a bit south of drizzle, but not soggy enough to dampen the spirits of between 250 and 300 runners and walkers out to support the Homewood school district.

Following the 5K race, families gathered to cheer on young runners in the 153-yard dash, but perhaps the biggest cheer went to Tori Maszak, 7, who has cerebral palsy and used a walker to compete, with help from her great-grandfather, Robert Maszak. 

The 5K run and 153-yard dash for kids this year were just the beginning of a fundraising event, which expanded to fill the day with fun and was designed to keep people engaged, according to foundation president Meg Sorensen.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., families were able to enjoy an indoor/outdoor Family Bash & Teacher Splash fun fair in the H-F Sports Complex at 18211 S. Aberdeen Ave.

One popular activity was the dunk tank sponsored by Lisa Grant Orthodontics. 

Youngsters had a chance to plunk volunteer teachers and administrators into a tank of water. 

James and Cameron Cassidy engaged in tennis volleys across a “net” built of yellow caution tape. Cameron, 4, was getting some good hits.

Bill Eng, league and lessons coordinator for the H-F Racquet Club, said the event was a good opportunity to introduce youngsters to the game.

“We can play tennis anywhere. Here we are on a parking lot,” he said. “It’s a sport of a lifetime.”

Other community groups with tables outside the sports complex included the Homewood Science Center, Cub Scout Troop 304. 

Food was served by Wiley’s Grill and Say Cheese. 

Inside the sports complex, kids enjoyed two bounce houses and a number of games, including a sack race, cactus ring toss, digging for gold, walk the plank, wooden horse rodeo and face painting. 

At 7 p.m., the adults got their turn for fun with live music and drinks at Grape & Grain in downtown Homewood. 

One reason for the new approach was a recent decline in the number of runners participating in the 5K race, Sorensen said. She said the addition of the fun fair was intended to get more families involved, and the evening event for adults, with no cover charge, was intended to give parents a chance to relax and mingle after the stress of getting ready for the new school year, which started Aug. 22.

The whole event is devoted to providing support for the district and its staff. 

Sorensen said the proceeds go for different things, depending on the district’s needs. In recent years, the foundation has helped with technology, adding iPads, for instance, that weren’t in the district’s budget. 

In years past, the money raised by the foundation has helped with mini-grants for teachers or for teacher professional development, according to foundation Executive Director Shelley Peck.

“The taxpayers provide the meat and potatoes for the district,” she said. “The foundation provides the sugar and spice.”


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