STURBRIDGE – The motto at Old Sturbridge Academy is “the way of the ox,” which implies hard work, and teamwork, to accomplish goals. So appropriately, the school’s upcoming first annual 5k fundraising event has been named the “Ox Trot 5k.”
The event will be held Saturday, Sept. 8 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the grounds of Old Sturbridge Village. The event is organized by the academy’s “PTSA” or Parent Teacher Scholar Association, and proceeds will be used to support the purchase and installation of playground equipment for the school.
Race director and PTSA member Audra Staples, who says that she has participated in other 5k fundraising events, is excited for the launch of the first annual Ox Trot 5k.
“I can’t wait for this race. More than any other race I’ve been in, because I know how much went into it – how much love and effort and energy,” she reflects.
Old Sturbridge Academy is a charter school based on a model called “EL education.” The model was historically called “expeditionary learning,” but the phrase “EL education” is now used almost exclusively. The model is practiced in many schools across the country, and it is based on three principal concepts – “mastery and knowledge of skills, character and high-quality student work.”
Old Sturbridge Academy’s website says that the Sturbridge charter school is the first EL education school in Southern Worcester County. Learning is based on 8 to 10-week “learning expeditions.” Each session is a “multidisciplinary project that provides for deep, meaningful learning and a multi-faceted experience that connects students to real-world issues and encourages critical thinking and problem-solving.”
Staples has found the model, and the school’s location on the campus of Old Sturbridge Village, to be very enriching for her child. She and her family have the mindset of being a vital part of a team, contributing to an overall success story.
“It’s a community. We are not individual students, individual educators or individual parents acting alone. We are a crew, and everybody has to row the boat,” Staples says.
Third-grade teacher Sam McGuire has helped organize the 5k and to get community sponsors, raffle donations and other contributions.
“We are very excited about this event and what it could mean for our school and our connection to the community. We have already started to make what we hope to be lasting partnerships with local businesses,” McGuire says.
The sponsorships, raffle donations and “swag bag” items to support the event have been wide-ranging and generous so far. B.T.’s Smokehouse is the title sponsor of the race, with generous support from a wide variety of businesses including Big Bunny Supermarket, Altruist Brewing Company, Silver Bell Farm, Oxygen Power Yoga and Idea Agency.
Staples reports that the wide range of businesses supporting the effort can be seen in the bag of goodies to be given out to participants, which is “the most amazing swag bag” with something for everyone.
The first one hundred people registering for the race are guaranteed a swag bag. Those registering for the race before Sept. 1 will also get a race shirt.
Staples says that the school staff works hard, and she has great respect for the educators at the academy. She also likes that the setting of Old Sturbridge Village is incorporated into learning on a regular basis.
“My kids know everything about the village. They are so comfortable here. It is their village; they love it,” Staples says. “It takes a village – or the whole village’s community,” to accomplish the goals of the school, she says.
Registration for the 5k event is available online at racewire.com. Registration is also open in person on Friday, Sept. 7, the night before the race, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Old Sturbridge Village campus, 2 Old Sturbridge Road. Registration and packet pick up the day of the event begins at 7 a.m., with the 5k scheduled to start at 8 a.m.
Individuals running or walking the course, which goes through Old Sturbridge Village, pay $20. The Kids Fun Run, to be held at 8 a.m. is free for Old Sturbridge Academy students and $5 for unenrolled children. A team or family (four or more people) can register for $60. At the Racewire registration site, another option for “virtual runner” is listed for $20. Those who register the morning of the event will pay a slightly higher registration fee of $25 per person.
For more information about this event, you can call Old Sturbridge Academy at (774) 922-1840 or visit the school’s website, www.osacps.org.