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Hesburgh walk to benefit local schools

Katie Peralta | Thursday, April 24, 2008

Former University President Father Theodore Hesburgh played an integral role in advancing social justice in the 1960s, and as a tribute to his work in education, Upward Bound will host its inaugural Father Ted’s Fun Run and Walk this Sunday.

All proceeds will benefit Upward Bound at Notre Dame, a program that serves South Bend high school students who are the first in their family to attend college.

Funded by the Department of Education, Upward Bound has seen its funds dwindling in recent years because of budget cuts, said Kristine Yuen, a sophomore and graduate of the Upward Bound program.

“The fundraiser we are doing for Upward Bound is an attempt to create an independent source of funding in case the U.S. Department of Education were to decide to cut the program in its entirety,” Yuen said.

The program helps its student participants graduate high school by providing a number of services, from tutoring to college visitations to SAT preparation, Coates and Yuen said.

“[The program is] for first generation college students and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds,” Yuen said.

Yuen said Notre Dame’s program boasts a 100 percent high school graduation rate and a 90 percent college attendance rate for its students.

Yuen said the program has promoted the event on campus through sending e-mails to hall rectors, creating a Facebook group and handing out table advertisements at North and South Dining Halls.

The event will take place at 3:30 p.m. and is $10 for students. A $30 family fee is available to participants who wish to register a group of up to five people

The race will take runners 3.1 miles around campus, starting near the A-10 parking lot by the Lyons basketball courts and looping the perimeter of campus. The walk follows a similar but slightly shorter route around campus.

The race will be started by both University Executive Vice President John Affleck Graves and South Bend Community School Corporation Superintendent Robert Zimmerman.

Following the race will be a reception featuring Fr. Hesburgh, who will present awards to top finishers, said Alyssia Coates, director for the Upward Bound Program at Notre Dame.

Race organizers hope for a sizable turnout come race day.

“I’m predicting at least 300,” Coates said.

Coates hopes to not only encourage other Upward Bound graduates to become involved in the program at Notre Dame, but also spread awareness about the program’s effort through this weekend’s event

“Because we are here on campus, people don’t know how involved we are in the [South Bend] community,” Coates said.

Coates said the program is also reaching out to students at Indiana University South Bend (IUSB), Saint Mary’s College, Ivy Tech, Bethel and Holy Cross College, since Upward Bound sends students to those schools as well.