Walk, Run & Dance, To Raise Money For Teacher Grants – May 18th


by Michelle Kenyon

On May 18, 2014, Napafit and the Napa Valley Education Foundation will hold their 4th annual Race For Education. In three short years, this event has earned the reputation of a “must do” family and community fundraising party, so sign up now. The Race For Education begins at 4:00 p.m. at the Napa Valley College Campus with a 5k walk/run, and finishes with a fun-filled, post-race festival, with food, wine and live entertainment provided by the electrifying Wonderbread 5 dance band. (Wonderbread5.com) “I dare anyone to sit still when Wonderbread 5 is in the house,” said Ines Donnelly-Bargenquast, owner of Napafit and one of the Race For Education founders. “Last year, parents and kids alike swarmed the stage during Wonderbread 5’s performance; they are such engaging performers and perfect for keeping the fun going at our post-Race festival. It is a great time for families to come out to support local education, get a walk or a run in together as a family, and then eat dinner and enjoy the live music.”

All proceeds from the Race are used to support the Napa Valley Education Foundation’s Teacher Grant Program. The NVEF Teacher Grant Program supports NVUSD students by giving teachers the tools they need to make their students more successful. Teacher grants have been used to purchase science lab materials, music and physical education program curriculum support, field trips, library resources, software, subscriptions, computers, play equipment, and much more. With over 1,200 participants in last year’s Race For Education, the Napa Valley Education Foundation was able to give $1,500 to each and every one of the thirty-two schools in the Napa Valley Unified School District. “This Race is not only an enjoyable afternoon for our community, it is crucial to the ongoing support and improvement of programs directly benefitting our students,” says Katie Aaron, a former Vintage high school teacher and coach. Katie told us, “The Foundation has a mantra, ‘Whole community, whole child, whole district,’ and this phrase captures the Foundation’s charge to seek ways for all parts of our community to have a well-rounded, educational experience.” As the founders of the Race For Education, Donnelly and Aaron have embraced that mantra and created an event that has provided the much-needed funds to enhance the educational experiences of all of the NVUSD students while incorporating physical fitness. Donnelly and Aaron met when Aaron was coaching the Vintage basketball team when Donnelly was a student player. Donnelly went on to graduate from UCLA and then spent a year in Saudi Arabia as a personal trainer to the royal family. When Donnelly returned to Napa, she started Napafit personal and group training and reconnected with her former high school basketball coach, Aaron, who joined one of her boot camp training sessions. Aaron had since joined the board of the Napa Valley Education Foundation, while raising her family. Donnelly and Aaron came up with the idea of the Race to incorporate the fitness activities they both loved and as an annual fundraiser for the Napa Valley Education Foundation. Now in its fourth year, the Race is a much-anticipated, community event and a unique source of funds for the Foundation.

One of the highlights of last year’s Race was the participation and enthusiasm for the Race engendered by teachers and staff members. The Race awards $1,000 grants to each of the elementary, middle and high schools with the most registrants. Some of the local schools did an exceptional job at rallying their students to participate in the Race and festival. The winner of the elementary school division in last year’s Race was Phillips Elementary School with nearly 150 runners. The students, their teachers and family members came together to raise awareness for Phillips Elementary and to show the community that, even in the face of adversity, if students work hard, focus on their education and goals and are kind and support their community, life will provide opportunities and benefits for them. Leslie Diakon, Phillips Elementary’s Physical Education teacher said, “Even though many of our Phillips’ family members were not able to participate on Race day because of financial constraints, our school community came together at the prize money presentation the following day during our school wide flag salute and the pride I saw in our student body was phenomenal. We plan to keep our title and the benefits that come with that win by bringing another strong showing of the Phillips’ community to the 2014 Race.”

Diakon told us that the majority of the prize money was used for much–needed, internet educational boards for every classroom and, while the money does not cover the full cost of that project, it made a measurable difference. A remaining portion of the prize money was earmarked for students who need proper shoes for physical education classes.

The Napa Valley Education Foundation has evolved significantly since its beginning three decades ago. “The District has established an innovative and nationally-recognized vision of technology-infused learning to equip our students for success in the 21st century, and the Foundation is pleased to support teachers and schools as they embrace new strategies to prepare our students for success,” Aaron stated. “The funds generated from the Race allow the NVEF to help teachers fund programs to enrich our students’ experiences and keep them engaged and moving forward. It’s a terrific event and lots of fun, but Ines and I remain focused on the ultimate objective of providing funds to get our teachers and students working at that next level, both scholastically and physically.”

2014 NVUSD School Competition

A $2,000 grant awarded to the High School or Middle School with the most registrants, as well as, one Elementary School.

When: Sunday, May 18, 2014 

Race Time:4 p.m.

Festival Time:5 – 8 p.m.

Where:  Napa Valley College Campus (free parking at Napa Valley College)

The 5k (3.1 miles) course begins and
ends on the college campus. 

(Price includes race registration & festival entry)

• Kids 4 and under – FREE

• Kids aged 5-18 – $25*

• Adults aged 19+ – $40*

*$5 more if tickets purchased on day of event

Festival Tickets ONLY:

• Kids 5 and under – FREE

• Kids aged 6-18 – $10

• Adults aged 19+ – $25

Sign up for the 4th Annual Race For
Education powered by Napafit, visit


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