Catholic schools gearing up for 2014 Steps for Students 5K

November 12, 2013

HOUSTON — Runners, walkers and supporters of Catholic education are already gearing up for the ninth annual Steps for Students 5K Run, set for Feb. 15, 2014. 

This year’s race, which will be chip-timed for the first time ever, features a single-loop course starting in downtown Houston beside the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and the Chancery, 1700 San Jacinto St.

Presented by Yellow Cab and Taxis Fiesta and chaired by Diana Dávila Martínez and Román Martínez, the event is an Archdiocesan-wide race where all school and parish communities come together to support Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The goal is to raise awareness and support for our network of Catholic schools and Catholic education as a whole. 

Catholic schools around the Archdiocese are fundraising and getting ready for the event.

St. Cecilia Catholic School (SCCS) students and their families are stretching out, lacing up and getting ready to head to the starting line to celebrate Steps for Students 2014, according to Communications Specialist Megan Dillingham.

“SCCS continues to be a proud participant in this annual event supporting Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston,” she said.

Dillingham said SCCS runners receive an additional special commemorative medal every year of their participation for their sweat and support of the SCCS mission and other Catholic schools in the community.

“In early 2014, SCCS will get runners in gear with a pep rally to build excitement for the race. Students organize grade-level teams, and earn t-shirts, special parties and other recognitions for sharing their time and treasure with Steps for Students,” she said.

Father T.J. Dolce, administrator at St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church, is currently the leading fundraiser just by putting the link at the bottom of his emails.

“A lot of people have supported me in the past and they just keep contributing,” he said. 

Father Dolce plans to re-release a workout video he showed a few years ago to get the kids excited about the event. He is also setting up a couple of incentives for students to participate.

“The first 100 kids to sign up will get a Father T.J. headband, which is a black head band with a square of white paint on it (made to look like a Roman Collar),” he said. “I wear a headband like that when I work out, so I thought I’d share them with the students.” 

He said the class with the most students signed up by Thanksgiving will get a pizza party with him. 

“We also will have a staff vs. student volleyball game to ramp up excitement about Steps for Students,” he said.

Cathi Whitworth, first grade teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Crosby, said the school is preparing for Steps for Students by kicking off the registration process with a pep rally for parents and students. 

“We have incentive prizes for the first 100 students to register as well as the first 50 to raise at least $100,” she said. “We also have a tracking process that is seen by the whole school on reaching our goal.”

Melissa D. Milligan, development director at Our Lady of Guadalupe School, said that with registration opening early this year, the school began to encourage the registration piece with the families early on and currently has the largest school team.

“Each year our school sets a monetary goal for our families and students to raise. We figure out how much we need each student to raise based on this number and begin sharing it early on,” she said. “Thermometer posters were placed outside each classroom the day that registration was opened so our students already began to have Steps for Students in their mind.” 

The school also sent Save the Date post cards with each student, as well as posting it on its Facebook page and sending it home in weekly e-blasts, which include registration information and the link to the team’s registration page.

“We also hold a contest each year with our middle school students for the design of our team t-shirt,” Milligan said. “The t-shirt design has been selected and is at the printers already. Our team t-shirts will be unveiled along with prizes at this year’s kickoff rally on Nov. 15. T-shirts are then worn every Friday by our students and faculty and staff.”

She said incentives changed this year, including a free dress day if a student is registered for Steps for Students by Nov. 13.

“...By far I think one of our largest motivators has been our weekly drawings. Every Monday at morning assembly we hold a drawing for our registered students to win a gift card (for $5 to $10) that has been donated,” she said. “Our kids have been very excited about this piece this year.”

Online registration is already underway and will remain open until 11 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2014. Visit to register and learn more about the race, or “Like” their Facebook page at