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From Marathons to Math Supplies

Classroom superhero Cassie Brown uses her passion for running to help her students.

After graduating from Oklahoma State University and running her first half-marathon, Cassie Brown thought she was ready to train for a full 26-miler. Yet she was also immersed in her first semester as a third-grade teacher, and Brown knew that the race would be much more satisfying if she could combine it with her passion for teaching.

“At the end of a marathon, I knew I’d be able to say that I’d done it, and that was great,” she says. “But I felt like if I put a little more work into it, I could create something better for my students and myself.”

So Brown looked around and determined what her students needed: more quality math supplies and manipulatives and a better understanding and appreciation of physical fitness. Then she figured out how to use her love of running to serve those needs.

To raise money for sorely-needed math supplies and increase awareness of physical fitness, Brown found community members willing to sponsor her marathon and got her students involved, teaching them to calculate donations and track her training schedule. All money raised through the “Endurance for Education” project would finance math supplies for the class.

On a chilly day in early May, Brown blazed through the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, beating her four-hour goal time by two minutes.  She shared video and photos with her class, who were excited about the medal she’d won—and thrilled to see the supplies they had helped purchase.
The project was such a success that Brown adopted it for the children at Project Transformation, a summer literacy camp for mainly low-income students. The students will complete and record at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily, write about their experiences, and earn books at the end of the summer.
Since her successful marathon, Brown hasn’t slacked off—along with her work with Project Transformation and a strict exercise schedule, she participated in a workshop about teaching healthy lifestyles. Brown plans to find new ways to integrate these lessons into her classroom next year.

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