Tenth annual Steps for Students takes over downtown Houston, raises $1M for Catholic Schools

March 10, 2015

On Saturday, Feb. 21, a blessing from Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, the beautiful pealing bells of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, and a release of ECO Doves (environmentally friendly dove-shaped balloons) sent off more than 11,000 participants of all ages taking part in the 10th annual Steps for Students 5K Run/Walk and the David K. Guite Memorial 1K Family Fun Run. Prior to the run, hundreds of participants started their day in prayer at the annual Steps Sunrise Mass at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, and then enjoyed food and festivities in the Román and Cecilia Martinez Memorial Catholic Schools Village.

Benefitting the network of 61 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, the USA Track and Field-sanctioned event began at the Co-Cathedral downtown and was sponsored by Yellow Cab and Taxis Fiesta. The race was chip-timed and featured a single-loop.

School communities, parishioners, community partners and runners from across the Archdiocese participated in Steps for Students to raise awareness of the value of Catholic education, assists schools with raising funds, and supports the Archdiocesan Tuition Assistance Program which makes Catholic schools accessible, available and affordable to all families. 

“Steps for Students is a day of fun and community-building. It is a time for us to come together in support of our mission to educate our students in mind, heart and spirit,” said Dr. Julie Vogel, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese. “The run also helps the financial well-being of our Catholic schools in providing quality Catholic education for our students. In its 10-year history, the event has benefited thousands of students.”

Román Martínez, president and chief executive officer of Texas Taxis, the parent company of event sponsors Yellow Cab and Taxis Fiesta, said “It has been such a joy to be affiliated with Steps for Students all these years.

“For me, personally, it has been a way to help other students who may be in the similar situation I was growing up here in Houston many years ago,” Martinez said. “I had parents who were willing to sacrifice to give me a Catholic education.”

Martinez said he had schools who offered him tuition financial assistance that gave him the opportunity to attend St. Theresa Catholic School and then Strake Jesuit College Preparatory.

“I had a principal at St. Theresa who would put a quarter, a nickel and a dime on her desk so I could pay for my lunch and at the same time maintain my dignity by not showing others how poor I was,” Martinez said. “My work in Steps for Students is my tribute to my parents, my teachers and principals who made me who I am today because I had the privilege of receiving a Catholic education.” 

After the 5K Run/Walk and the 1K Fun Run runners and walkers enjoyed music, games and refreshments at the Post-Race Party during which Dr. Julie Vogel presented the annual the David Guite Spirit Award to Christ the Redeemer Catholic School. The David Guite Spirit Award is presented annually to a Catholic school team that has over 75 percent participation, demonstrates exceptional creativity in their Steps efforts and serves as an example of Steps spirit.