In the spring of 2016, Jeffrey Glasbrenner became the first American amputee to climb Mount Everest. Jeff had lost his leg in a farming accident in 1980 while only 8 years old and through much of his life, he was told that there would be limits on what he can and can’t do. Fortunately, Glasbrenner has always remembered the words of his late father: “You can either be pitiful or powerful. But you can’t be both.” Thankfully, Jeff chose the latter and has lived his life believing that the only limits are the ones we place on ourselves. This courageous man won a Bronze Medal in Wheelchair Basketball during the 2008 Paralympic Games and his goal is to climb all Seven Summits around the globe.
After reading about Jeffrey Glasbrenner, I couldn’t help but reflect on the success of our recently revived St. Agnes 5K Run/Walk. Although it has been three years since we held this event, our H.S.A. was determined to capitalize on the positive direction in which our school is headed and re-establish this event. While completing an event like a 5K may not parallel the courage that is required to accomplish the bold feat of climbing Mount Everest, it does take resolve. You see, for many of the runners and walkers who took part in our 3rd annual race, this event may be the one and only competition that most of our participants take part in all year. And to many, running up the hilly terrain of “Mount Orpington” in Catonsville feels as awe-inspiring as hiking Mount Everest in Nepal.
God blessed us with perfect weather on race day. The event began with a slight chill as we started the 5K and concluded with the warm sun gleaming down upon the participants as they crossed the finish line. Our students, their families, alumni, faculty, school board members, parishioners and local running enthusiasts eagerly exited our campus and returned to that same location beaming with pride knowing that their efforts would provide fundraising support to our charming school house. As I reflect on the true beauty of this day, I know that its source emerged from the communal joy that was shared between participants and volunteers alike.
Events like our 5K race don’t occur by mere wishes and hope. Rather, it is the direct result of countless volunteers. Moreover, successful events require dedicated leaders. To this point, the realization of this day began and ended with the co-chair leadership of Kathy and Carlos Acosta. Their tireless efforts to ensure that we revived this joy filled fundraiser was such a gift to our school. As well, I would like to also thank our assistant chairperson Jen Doyle and all of her support. I also want to extend my appreciation to St. Agnes’ own disc jockey, the amazing Dan Baker, and 8th grader Jamison Washington for his singing of the National Anthem. As well, we are immensely grateful for the presence of Jason LaConfora from CBS Sports who generously served as the emcee announcer for the event.
A well-known African proverb asserts that if you want to go fast, go alone. Though if you want to go far, go together. As a community, we will only go as far as the communal strength that the binds together the fibers of our school and parish families. We Are…ST. AGNES!