Educators step forward for good causes

Sandy Hook 5k Race

MTA educators prove every day that they are as committed to their communities as they are to their students.

In March, several MTA members traveled to Hartford to be among the 15,000 people who turned out for the 5K Sandy Hook Run for the Families. The following month, educators joined with business people and residents at the the Malden Education Association’s inaugural 5K Race/Fun Walk. And on May 5, MTA educators from all over the state showed their support for Project Bread at the annual Walk for Hunger.

These charitable events are just three of many that help underscore the fact that public school educators are at the very center of community life. Involvement in such efforts does more than raise funds for good causes; it gives members of the public a chance to interact with educators outside of traditional school settings.

“It was awesome to see all the enthusiasm for teachers,” said Maryann Ziemba, a history teacher at Millis High School about the Sandy Hook run. “I have always been proud to be a teacher because giving back is part of who we are.

”She noted that raising funds for the families at Sandy Hook bore special significance because the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., which took the lives of both students and educators, “had such a direct effect on our profession.”

The group from the MTA New Member Committee, running in T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Massachusetts Teachers with Compassion,” was personally thanked by a Newtown educator who saw the educators in the crowd and made sure to come over to talk with them.

“This is just an awesome outpouring of love and camaraderie,” said Susan Connelly, a counselor at Newtown Middle School, who got her start teaching in Massachusetts before moving to Connecticut.

The Malden race, meanwhile, was designed as a family-friendly festival. It was set to start on April 27 at MacDonald Stadium. Registration for the run was $25, while walkers could sign up for $15. All proceeds are being donated to a local anti-hunger organization called Bread of Life.

Matthew Gillis, a physical education teacher who organized the MEA race, said reaction to the event has been “beyond positive.”school. Prior to the event, coaches and physical education teachers recruited student athletes to participate, and the business community also put together teams.

In September, Natick High School Vice Principal Zach Galvin once again plans to take part in The Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, which follows the course of the Boston Marathon.

Since 1989, the walk has contributed nearly $87 million to support cancer research and care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center. Galvin, a cancer survivor, has helped raise nearly $500,000 through the event over the last 16 years. He has a goal of $50,000 this year.

“Reaction from everyone is extremely positive, and part of that is because so many knew me when I was a new teacher and fighting stage-four cancer,” Galvin said.

He added that he shares credit for his fundraising with many others. “I succeed because of those around me,” Galvin said.