DREAMFAR is an amazing program and the students who dare to participate are even more so. Imagine setting out to run a marathon as a high school student. It sounds like a bad joke or a crazy, deluded fantasy. It’s not. DREAMFAR is real and the students are incredible. In fact, they are what brings me back each year. It's hard to believe that this is my 5th year with DREAMFAR as a school leader at Needham High School.
Three afternoons a week, a crew of rambunctious teenagers convenes in the Guidance suite, right outside my office. Thankfully, my dear colleagues put up with the 20 minutes of animated banter. We all change – lend hair ties, debate our route and weather conditions and then head out for a run. I’m grateful to be surrounded by this eclectic bunch of students – I could never do this alone. The running is satisfying but the sense of community is inspiring. The weekday runs are fun and the Saturday runs are even better.
On Saturday morning, we gather with 14 other schools at the Brookline Teen Center. The goofy disco music helps wake us up as we greet each other - students, mentors, and school leaders. We discuss how many layers are needed, dash to the bathroom, stretch and huddle together in our DREAMFAR orange and blue and we belt out, “26.2 Together!” We take to the streets of Brookline and Newton getting all too acclimated (some days better than others) to the hills of Newton and “the Boston” route.
I never, ever, ever thought I could run a marathon. Until I tried, I didn’t realize what my body could do. And more than the physical element of 26 miles and the 30 weeks of training, I didn’t understand the power and grace of the human spirit – especially when bolstered as a collective striving for a common goal.
I am grateful to be part of DREAMFAR – to escape my office, to get to know students in a completely different way and for them to know me in a different way. I value what I have learned through DREAMFAR – about my students and the importance of teamwork, goal setting, physical challenges and the power of kindness.
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