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Teacher Runs with Students Toward Positive Change

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Photo by: Easton Rice
Mrs. Gasparick reflects on the value of exercise.

Walking through the hallway of a Michigan school, Elissa Gasparick finds her way. Gasparick weaves through the crowd of people like a soldier dodging landmines to make it to basketball practice on time. Gasparick, worrying she won’t make it, feels anxiety rush through her body.

With the determination of Sisyphus, she participates in three sports, which take a toll on the body but does wonders for the mind. After graduation, Gasparick seems to fall into a rut.

Gasparick thinks hard about what she is missing. That’s when she had an epiphany; she is missing the exercise. After that thought, Gasparick starts distance running. While running, she realizes that the hole in her heart is filling with the endorphins of exercise.

Fast forward 15 years later, Gasparick begins teaching with Cathy Chancellor. Chancellor starts the program Runner’s High where students run a half marathon. The program targets kids who suffering from A.O.D.A. issues to find a positive outlet for their personal struggles. Chancellor leaves in 2017, and Gasparick carries on her work.

Gasparick, knowing how much running helps her, wants to help kids struggling as well. Gasparick spends her nights tirelessly applying for grants to give these kids things they need at no cost. Gasparick thinks everything will be worth it once those kids reach the finish line.

Gasparick never gives up on these kids because if she does: What happens to the program?

 Today, Gasparick co-heads of the Runners High program at NHS. Why does she keep coming back?

“Just seeing the accomplishment and seeing how the students feel when they cross the line will always keep me going back.”

Gasparick helps these kids until she is blue in the face. She knows that helping others can be as rewarding as helping yourself.

 

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