An Hornedo Middle School special-education teacher’s passion for STEM and running collided – earning more resources for her classroom and an entry into the TCS New York City Marathon this fall.
Laura Stipe, Community Readiness Classroom teacher and Special Olympics coach, is one of 50 teachers receiving entries into the TCS New York Marathon for their commitment to furthering STEM education and healthy lifestyles among her students. The Nov. 1 race appears to be on schedule despite current COVID-19 restrictions.
“Running the New York City Marathon will be a great honor and bucket list item to complete,” Stipe said. “Plus, I will be receiving STEM resources for my classroom. I’ll also get to network with an amazing team of STEM researchers and runners.”
Stipe completed an application just before Special Olympics to earn her this opportunity. She also submitted a 30-second video with her student athletes to further seal her chance at an entry in the marathon and show the faces of students she’d be running for.
“We train together, we believe together, we are a team,” she said, her kids cheering her on.
TCS launched the Team TCS Teachers contest in 2018 to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary. The company provides STEM education tools and resources for students to learn digital skills to advance in 21st century careers. The company is the official sponsor of the New York City Marathon.
“Laura was selected because her application exuded her passion for teaching and for running,” said Megan Wright of TCS. “Through her short answer essays, we were able to truly get a sense of why running is important to her and her devotion to teaching and coaching, while furthering her own education.
Intertwining her commitment to fitness and STEM lessons comes natural for her – especially with her Special Olympics training. She talks with students about teamwork and commitment while also challenging them to track their running times, do measurements and graphic their results.
“We talk about being committed to come together as a team and work hard,” she said. “I can make an impact with the kids. I’m in love with that. I want to make them better. I tell them, ‘let’s bring the hardware home. We’re all winners but let’s go for the gold. If we’re going to be out there, give it 100 percent.’”
The drive she has for her students continues off road to her personal life – competing and training in running and cycling events. Stipe is seasoned athlete who has run the El Paso Marathon, the San Diego Marathon and numerous triathlons. For this marathon, she’s enlisting the coaching of a world class athlete to prepare.
Her ultimate goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon – a feat that will require shaving 30 minutes off her marathon time to reach 3 hours 45 minutes.
“I plan to take every piece of knowledge she has – lots of strategy and coaching,” she said. “I will run hard and train hard and study the course to see if I can qualify for Boston.”
For her, a run at Boston isn’t just about competing in the world’s oldest marathon. It’s about getting the chance to shake hands with survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, wounded warriors and other athletes who have overcome unheard of obstacles to cross the finish line.
“That’s what I want to witness. It would be a great honor and I’d probably never do a marathon again,” she said. “There are so many imagines in my mind – I want to hear their stories.”