The Virtual Race: We are all Winners!

Racing often has a competitive edge. At times, the winners take to the champion platforms for their awards. At ASF, the Virtual Race is for everyone and everyone's a winner when the race is run well. The Virtual Race is a way the whole ASF community can work together to raise money for the Endowment Fund for Financial Aid. Cecilia Cepeda, Director of Institutional Advancement, the office that organizes and oversees the Virtual Race, explains the importance, “It's not only the money we raise; the most important part is building community and bringing together the whole ASF. Every year it has increased levels of participation and a lot of people get excited about it.” The 4th annual Virtual Race was a success, as current and future ASF students will benefit greatly from the funds raised.

Starting four years ago, ASF began an annual Virtual Race that took on the competition of equity. Part of the mission of ASF is to promote a diverse student population. Educating students for a diverse and changing world, ASF strives to develop a better understanding of the perspectives of children from different backgrounds and to learn to function in a multicultural, multiethnic environment, in aims of developing passionate responsible citizens who understand the importance of tolerance, respect, empathy, and inclusiveness. Through the Institutional Advancement Office, the Virtual Race is an important fundraiser in that mission in promoting the leaders of a more tolerant future.

Anakarina Piña, Mariana Veytia, Cecilia Cepeda and Erika Arévalo from the Institutional Advancement Office

The Virtual Race aims to raise money to support students who otherwise could not afford tuition at ASF. Every year, the race begins on Founder’s Day, which is February 22 and concludes on Children’s Day, held on April 30. Mariana Veytia (‘01), Donations Specialist explains, “The Endowment Fund for Financial Aid provides financial aid to 16% of the student body with an average of a 50% discount rate on the tuition for ASF.” This year’s fundraising goal of $1,100,000 pesos was met and exceeded by $42,371 pesos. Mariana shared ASF’s aim, “to raise an equivalent to 10 half scholarships - through the Virtual Race.”

108 Virtual Runner Groups were formed from the four schools and other ASF community members. In the Early Childhood Center (ECC), 16 classes engaged in the race. The Lower School took up the mantel with 40 participating classrooms, while the Middle School surged with 43 advocacies racing to raise funds. The Upper School charged forward with all four grade levels participating in a neck and neck competition. Each school raised significant funds. In addition, teams from the Parent Association, Faculty and Staff, Alumni, the Board of Trustees, and the Bear Boosters all fielded support and raised for the cause.

Opening ceremonies began in late February, corresponding with the Founder’s Day event. Founder’s Day is an annual event that celebrates students, parents, faculty and staff who embody the values of ASF: Justice, Understanding and Truth. It is here the Virtual Race sounded the metaphorical gun and started the 2019 fundraising race. With a bang, the Institutional Advancement Office generated resounding excitement that carried over all the way through April.

Throughout the campaign, The Institutional Advancement Office worked hard to promote the race and got all hands on deck across the entire ASF campus. Jumping right into the ECC classes with 580 piggy banks sent home with K2 and K3 students for one week, so students could raise money at home through bake sales, car washes, drawings for sale, and any other clever way the students and parents could devise. The IA team went to all the classrooms to explain why it was important to participate and shared a story of the 10 students who would be benefitted by this fundraiser. “ECC reached their goal of $250,000 pesos! It was amazing the stories some of the students shared. The piggy banks came back so full!” Mariana proudly explained. Pride does not stop there, Cecilia shares looking back, “We are very proud that the efforts we made through this campaign had a positive impact in all school divisions and was widely spread throughout the community”.

Jordan Maas, Head of Lower School challenged the school during flag honors, “I announced that the classroom with the most funds raised could throw pies at me while I went down the slip and slide.” The students would see this happen during the Children’s Day celebration. About 10 teachers ventured down the risky Slip and Slide to the delight and excitement of all the students. Other classrooms cooperated and took the initiative to generate their own funds. The Lower School raised almost $300,000 pesos.

Middle School Advocacy classes also participated by selling yummy treats during lunches and during the Clothes Drive and the Middle School Tianguis. The competition between advocacies was tight but Ms. Miranda’s class topped them all. The Middle School raised $230,000 pesos. Supporting that goal was the promise of dunking 10 teachers. However, fate's hand would stay the dunking of teachers for the dunk tank broke before the event. The dunking would commence on June 6 to the wonderment of the Middle School’s vengeful mind.

In the Upper School, they too raised funds through selling pizza, donuts, and other treats during lunches. However, the work of seniors Rick Sohn (‘19) and Sebastián Baca (‘19) would truly push the Upper School’s standing in the race. Both Rick and Sebastián are the creators and producers of the musical Escape that generated, through ticket sales and refreshments, $10,000 pesos towards the Upper School’s total. Rick and Sebastián with the later help from Yankel Gelman (‘19), Mateo Pisinger (‘20) and María Del Río (‘19) had no other reason then a passion to create and support their ASF community. Sebastián explains, “It started as an idea and fell into an obsession. When the idea of doing it as a part of the Virtual Race, it really made it more significant.”

Other teams joining the race, like the Parent Association, Faculty and Staff, the Alumni, the Bear Boosters, and the Board of Trustees, were privy to email blasts and GIF explosions in chats that updated the standings in the race and encouraged initial and continued participation. The PA topped the standing for most of the race as pride and passion motivated parents to support the Virtual Race.

The closing ceremony of the Virtual Race was planned on April 30, corresponding with the Lower School’s Children’s Day. It is here the conclusion of the race culminated in a slippery celebration of sensational delight. Teacher after teacher motored down the slip and slide getting wet and falling all over themselves.

The top five running teams raised $254,434 pesos. The Parent Association raised the most with $71,500, besting the Board of Trustees by a mere $7,400 pesos. The students and teachers were strong teams overall. However, the graduating class of 2019 would not compete without a significant showing and presence. Boosted by the student created and produced musical performances of Escape, the seniors raised $42,865 pesos. Following close behind was Ms. Amalia Graciela Miranda López, grade 7 teacher, prepped and coached her advocacy class to compete and they showed up to win, raising over $39,000 pesos. The freshmen class of 2022 rounds out the top five running team with 21 donors culminating a total of $36,269 pesos. Chad Schwaberow, Head of Upper School, encapsulates the efforts of the US, “I am proud of what our students did to raise that much money for a great cause. The senior and freshman classes outperformed the other generations. I think that shows the legacy of one and the ambition of the other.”

Beyond the lights of the stage, the slippery slope of the slip and slide, and the pie in Jordan’s face, the goal was met, achieved, and surmounted.  ASF students, ASF parents, faculty and staff, Parent Association, Alumni, Bear Boosters, and Board of Trustees pulled together. Mariana summons up the results, “Personally I can say that this race represents the strength of our community to come together for the same goal. And we can say that we are all winners!“

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