Legwork for learning: Stern Center alums participate in Mad Marathon

June 2 E Stern Center Mad Marathon SC

by laurie caswell burke

In less than three weeks two Stern Center alums will be among 1,000 runners and walkers sweating up and down the magnificent hills and valleys of the Mad River Valley. Stephanie Hackett and Doug Rumsey are eager for other alums to join them on Sunday, July 6 for what is known as the “World’s Most Beautiful Marathon.” At least 30 additional runners and walkers are “running/walking for a cause” to support the Stern Center scholarship program. Every year the Stern Center offers over $130,000 in scholarships to students who need services.

Doug Rumsey returns to run in the Green Mountain State from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. where he works in advertising. Rumsey grew up in the Burlington area and is excited to run in his birthplace. Training an average of 35 minutes a day, running on roads and on the beautiful Florida beaches, often with his dog Jake, he is ready for the MM relay team. Rumsey shares, “The Stern Center has been my rock for over 35 years- it’s a place I call home. Running in this marathon is a small token of my way of giving back to an organization that…is always there for me.” He is busy fundraising with an ambitious goal of $2,000.
Stephanie Hackett is joining her older sister Sarah to run a half marathon this year.

Sarah, who currently lives in Scranton, PA, grew up in Shelburne with parents Steve and Ruthann and sister Stephanie. With a structured training schedule designed by Sarah this sister team has been in training since early May. Hackett shared that this is her first half marathon. Last year she cheered everyone on after scratching at the last minute due to a back injury. Hackett, our local barista at Village Wine and Coffee, is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Teaching English as A Second Language at St. Michael’s College. When not in school, training, or working she finds time to tutor a local Nepalese family.

Hackett shares, “Education can be like running a marathon. The students find themselves running uphill, through potholes and on dirt roads in order to cross the academic and marathon finish line.” This challenge allows Stephanie to feel like she is helping others overcome personal challenges that they face at specific times in their lives. She understands what it feels like to get support when it’s needed. “Growing up I had struggled academically and was feeling very discouraged in the academic setting.  The Stern Center taught me the tools I needed to succeed in the academic and work setting. With these tools I have become more confident in my ability to succeed. Through the years…I have not only been more confident in my abilities but also more proactive in recognizing the support I need in order to reach my fullest potential in and outside the classroom.”

There is still time to join in the fun and any alumnus or person interested in participating should visit the Stern Center website, www.sterncenter.org, for more information. Click on the Mad Marathon or call Robin Bertrand at (802) 878-2332 for more details.
As the Stern Center celebrates 30 years of helping all learners succeed, one of its greatest accomplishments is seeing alums like Stephanie and Doug give back to a place that had an impact on their lives.