Schools, committee prepare to grow annual Steps for Students race as new decade begins
November 24, 2015
HOUSTON — Online registration is open for the upcoming Steps for Students 5K Run, now in its 11th year.
The event, set for Feb. 20, 2016, will be chip-timed and features a single-loop course starting in downtown Houston beside the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and the Chancery, located at 1700 San Jacinto St.
Presented by Yellow Cab and Taxis Fiesta and chaired by Diana Dávila Martínez and Román Martínez, the event is an Archdiocese-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 the network of Catholic schools and Catholic education as a whole.
"What I love most about Steps for Students is that it brings all of our Catholic school communities together," Dr. Julie Vogel, superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese, said. "Our Archdiocese is one of the largest in the country and our schools are located in six counties, so it is phenomenal when we get to come together as an Archdiocesan family to celebrate our faith in action and share in the blessings of Catholic education."
Vogel said the event is immensely important to Catholic schools in the Archdiocese.
"Not only does Steps for Students provide schools with an opportunity to raise awareness and support for their own campuses, but it also provides the Tuition Assistance Program for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston a way to keep Catholic education accessible and available to more students each year," she said.
Kickoff events are already under way from several schools to get families registered to join their school's team. Christ the Redeemer (CtR) Catholic School just recently celebrated a whole week of events.
Betty Sierra, principal at CtR Catholic School, said, "At CtR Catholic School, we got the David Guite Spirit Award in our inaugural year as a new school. When we participated the year before during our planning year, there were only three of us. The next year, we had a group of more than 200. It was a big deal for us to start our first year of Steps running right out of the gate. Steps was a great opportunity to bring our school and parish community together for the first time too."
She said the school has almost doubled in size, so they are seeing even more of that spirit coming through, especially with the first-ever pep rally and appearance by their Crusader mascot.
"The important thing though is that Steps is an awesome opportunity because we get to raise money for Catholic education," she said. "We all like to compete but it's what we do with that funding that's most important. A lot of our funds go toward tuition assistance and that's what it's really all about."
St. Mary Catholic School in League City also had their kick-off Steps rally and as a big surprise to their parents, students and faculty, they debuted their brand new Bobcat mascot who will be joining them at the race this year.
Román Martínez, president and chief executive officer of Texas Taxis, the parent company of both Yellow Cab and Taxis Fiesta, said that, in order to kickstart the new decade of Steps for Students, they have brought on Fast Lane Services, a professional race direction company that coordinates the course, traffic flow and the logistics of the race.
"Our commitment is to grow the race as successfully and with the utmost regard to the safety of all involved for years to come and Fast Lane Services will be an integral part of doing that working together with our Steps for Students committee," he said.
Martínez said the Steps committee works hard to improve the race every year.
"I think that is why Steps for Students grows and grows and is so successful," he said. "Our goal is to support Catholic education. For us, that means assisting our Catholic schools in raising the funds they need to enhance their schools. It also means making the race enjoyable for everyone!"
Martínez said some of the improvements for the next race include streamlining the registration process through First Giving, the event's official registration site, making it an easier and smoother process. There will also be more of a street carnival atmosphere after the race with a lot more activities for everyone to enjoy.
"Last year we had a huge race. We broke the $1 million dollar amount in money raised by schools, students, runners and our great sponsors," Martínez said. "We had over 11,000 participants in the 5K race."
Underwriting categories range from $500 to $15,000 and support the Archdiocesan Tuition Assistance Program. All funds raised by each particular school go back directly to those schools to help them with their needs. Some schools have even assisted a sister school with their Steps funds.
People can also contribute directly through the website, www.steps4students.org, to any of the 61 teams that represent all of the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese who will be participating on race day.
Online registration will remain open until 11 p.m. on Feb. 3, 2016. Visit www.steps4students.org to register and learn more about the race, or "Like" their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/StepsforStudents.