Greece Central School District team members gather for a group photo before a recent Chase Corporate Challenge in Rochester. Greece Central has compted in 12 Corporate Challenges in Rochester.
As a role model for students, Greece Central
earns high grades at Corporate Challenge
Greece Central has become a staple of the Chase Corporate Challenge in Rochester, which has become the largest road race in Monroe County.
ROCHESTER, May 12, 2011— About to celebrate its 21st running on May 24, the Chase Corporate Challenge® in Rochester has grown from a modest race with 816 participants to the largest road race in Monroe County, with 9,102 runners and walkers gathering at Rochester Institute of Technology last year.
Among the big crowd in 2010 was a large team from Greece Central School District. In fact, Greece Central, like many other area school districts, has been as much of a staple at Rochester's Corporate Challenge as chalk in classrooms.
"Greece Central School District has competed for 12 years in the Corporate Challenge," said Company Captain Beverly Ziegler. "We typically have numbers between 100-200."
Ziegler, who holds a doctor of education and is Director of Physical Education, Health and Wellness, and Athena Interscholastic Athletics at Greece Central, once again is organizing the Corporate Challenge effort. It involves bringing together faculty and staff from the district's 20 elementary, middle and high schools, plus community education programs. It's no small job, but Ziegler has plenty of experience at it.
"I have been company captain for 12 years," she said. "I became involved in my previous district and continued when I came to Greece."
She also has plenty of help.
"Each of our schools has a teacher who serves as a wellness representative," Ziegler said. "They assist in recruiting interested staff. Our goals are to have fun, promote health and fitness, enjoy each other's company, and have some fast runners meet personal records."
In 2009, in fact, four of Greece Central's fast runners — Kerry Wille, Danielle Boneberg, Amy Lembo and Kristine Penrose — combined their talents to win the Female team title at Rochester. The runners — with Andrea Zaffino, Greece Central's next fastest finisher at Rochester, having to replace Lembo — travelled to Johannesburg, South Africa a few months later to compete against the best corporate running teams in the world at the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge® Championship.
That team wound up placing eighth at the international Championship, which is no small feat in itself. But success at the fastest level of competition is hardly the only reason Greece Central has become an enduring presence at the Rochester Chase Corporate Challenge.
Rochester Institute of Technology's campus provides a great setting for teams to relax and mingle before and after the race.
"This event provides administration, teachers and staff the opportunity to forget the daily events and just enjoy some time together, get a workout and share time and food in the tent following the event," said Ziegler. "We have had a range (of team members) from superintendent, district office, teachers, principals, assistant principals, food service, transportation, support staff etc. All members of our staff have participated in the past.
"I think there are many personal success stories," she added. "Many people strive to walk faster, or jog half and walk half or beat their personal time."
With 100 participants already registered for this year's race, Greece Central figures to have a wide mix of employees and executives on its team once again. The heavy participation of school teams is part of a pattern that has helped Rochester's Corporate Challenge grow into the event it is today.
"I think schools are well represented because it is a chance for them to come together for something positive, healthy and all inclusive (walk, jog or run)," said Ziegler.
Sure, she adds, the fitness and camaraderie promoted by the event in the workplace are very important. But, for those involved in education, active participation in the Corporate Challenge also carries a message that may be even more important.
"Many of the staff wear their T-shirts after the race and it is a great opportunity to promote health and fitness to students," she said. "It is good role modeling. Many students ask the staff about the shirts. Information and stories are shared in physical education. It teaches students that a physically active lifestyle is for anyone, any age, and any ability."
And, in an age when obesity and lifestyle diseases such as a diabetes have reached alarming proportions among America's youth, the lesson that fitness is for everyone — brought home to students by teachers and staff who themselves have made the effort to run or walk the 3.5 mile course at Rochester Institute of Technology — is as important as breaking the finish line tape first to win the area's largest road race.
Just ask the members of the Greece Central School District team from any of the last 12 years.