By Jack Gibson
The third annual Sudell Sprint color run at Western Middle School on May 27 was an extremely positive and uplifting event that captured the spirit of Steven Sudell, to whom the event was dedicated, and raised money for Make-A-Wish Connecticut.
Steven, nicknamed “Weev” by his family, passed away peacefully at the age of 14, after a valiant battle with cancer in 2018.
“This event is about keeping Steven’s legacy of kindness and positivity alive,” said Barbara Jacowleff, one of Steven’s teachers when he attended Western.
“He just graced our school with wisdom beyond his years,” Jacowleff said.
Steven’s impact on those who knew him was hard to miss throughout the entirety of the event.
It was especially pronounced as family, friends, students and faculty filled the middle school’s auditorium before the run to listen to words from those who organized the event.
Members of the community gathered to hear words from Jack Ryan, Steven’s friend who has led the way organizing the Sudell Sprint, as well as Principal Gordon Beinstein and others on what the young man and the charity run in his name meant to them.
The time in the auditorium was capped off with the official announcement from Jack that proved that the event was as much of a success in the fundraising department, as it was a great time for all involved.
The Sudell Sprint raises money through selling T-shirts, bracelets and accepting donations from the community. This year they were able to raise an extremely impressive $5,902 dollars through these means.
“It’s taken a few months, definitely a lot of hard work from a ton of different parties,” Jack said. “They all know who they are.”
The hard work all paid off in the end, as everyone funneled out of the auditorium to take part in the day’s main event: the color run.
The run is a trip right up the road to Dorothy Hamill, during which all of those partaking were given cups of paint to throw in the air and cover their white tees with. It added an extra layer of fun to the event as everyone made sure no shirt was left unaltered before the start of the run.
“Today you’re really just gonna see the 8th graders having fun, enjoying their time raising money, and that’s what’s important,” Jack said.
The biggest difference between this year and previous Sudell Sprint events was that the class who partook in the original event four years ago was invited back to participate before they graduate high school.
“We’ve invited high school kids back because this was Steven’s class,” Beinstein explained. “We met
as a committee to try to figure out how to make this year really special. The idea was ‘Let’s have Steven’s friends here,’ and it looked like about half the class was here, which is amazing. It makes this year unique.”
Following the run, participants were rewarded with music and plenty of donated food at the finish line to celebrate and take pictures in their newly painted T-shirts – a fitting end to something that
is organized by those in a community wishing to give back, in the name of someone who gave
so much to them.
“We’ve had a ton of donations for food. Everything is donated, all the food, all the water, it all
comes from people just giving back to the community which is nice,” Beinstein said.