PHS team turns RAGNAR into fundraiser

THIS TEAM OF Plymouth High School staff members participated in a RAGNAR run June 9-10 to raise money for PHS students in need. — Submitted photo THIS TEAM OF Plymouth High School staff members participated in a RAGNAR run June 9-10 to raise money for PHS students in need. — Submitted photo A team of 14 female Plymouth High School staff members participated in a RAGNAR run June 9-10 to raise more than $2,000 for PHS students in need.

“The best part was coming together as a group of 14 women for one common goal of raising money for our Student Help Fund while at the same time all individually running for a purpose,” said participant Kay Tharp, a PHS math teacher. “Getting to know the other 13 people more was a huge bonus.”

Twelve members of the team ran 200 miles - the distance from Madison to Chicago - while two others drove support vehicles. Each runner averaged 17 miles in 36 hours in 95-degree heat - a challenge since a mild spring meant they had not had the opportunity to train in that kind of weather.

“While running conditions were far from ideal, we did it,” said PHS counselor Maggie Stielow, who inspired PHS teacher Tracy Holdridge and others to participate.

As sweaty, fatigued and sleepdeprived as we all were, our inner motivation pushed us through.”

Each member of the team contributed enough to cover the costs of participation, and the school’s Peers for Peers club sought matching pledges to benefit the PHS Student Help Fund, a staff-supported fund that provides assistance to students in need.

Members of the team are:

Jennifer Biller, social studies instructor

Amy Bogenscheutz, special needs educator

Kamie Gritt, physical education teacher

Tracy Heinbach, agriscience instructor

Tina Henriksen, biology instructor

Katrina Henschel, support staff

Meredith Herrera, math instructor

Tracy Holdridge, special needs educator

Megan Hummitzsch, English instructor

Melissa Juneau, alternative education teacher

Tammy Kulow,support staff

Megan Rickmeier, counselor

Maggie Stielow, counselor

Kay Tharp,math instructor

Sponsors included businesses Avenue Real Estate, Budget Tax Service, Chiro-Health, Four Seasons Comfort, HomeReview Inspection Services, Lakeside Pepsi-Cola, Marshall Sign, Masters Gallery, Meyer Motors, Next Level Fitness, Plymouth Foam, Sargento and Van Horn; and individuals Courtney Booth, Dr. Andrea Gavin, Tina Henriksen, James Ubel and Emily Witt.

“Coming together as a team and working together to accomplish a common goal was what this was all about,” Gritt said.

Each team member had different reasons for participating: fitness, camaraderie, a challenge, running for a purpose.

“It was nice to see new territory, to run and explore places I’ve never seen before,” Biller said.

To prepare, the group organized runs nearly every week for those who were interested, but most trained individually. They helped each other stay motivated and plan appropriate workouts.

“Just being able to bond with coworkers in a different environment was great,” Kulow said. “I pushed myself to do something I’ve never done before.”

Others on the team echoed those sentiments:

Heinbuch: “I thought it was an intense 36 hours, but 36 hours I would not change for the world.”

Henschel: “I pushed myself beyond my expectations. I didn’t think that I could do it.”

Hummitzsch: “You can do more than you think is possible. The women I work with are amazing warriors!”

Herrera: “This has truly shown me what hard work and dedication can do.”

Bogenscheutz offered “a special shout-out to Megan Rickmeier and Sandy Nicholson for driving us and safely getting us to and from our exchanges.”

Rickmeier noted that the participants “ran like Pantherettes.” Nicholson said, “It was great watching everyone encourage each other and to offer encourage myself to others as they accomplished a goal.”

Team members gained - and gave! - a lot thanks to the experience.

“These women showed perseverance, problem solving, collaboration, respect and amazing work habits to be able to accomplish this enormous task,” Tharp said. “These soft skills are something we try to model for our students every day so that they, too, can take on a challenge bigger than themselves and complete it!”

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