CROWN POINT - A Crown Point teacher recently completed the Marine Corps Marathon to raise money for the College For Every Student program at her school. Elaine Dixon finished the 26-mile, 385-yard run in Washington, D.C., in 5 hours, 30 minutes, 18 seconds.
She trained for the race at 4:30 a.m. before her day as a teacher, mentor and student. She is taking courses towards her certification of advanced study, hoping to become a school principal.
Why did she add marathon training to her already jam-packed schedule?
Dixon, who has run several half marathons, sought sponsorship for her marathon. She raised $1,500 for the CFES program at Crown Point.
Ten years ago, Crown Point was on the state "Schools in Need of Improvement" list because of its subpar student test scores and low graduation rates. Today the school is a model school in the America's Choice program, which helps public schools improve their performance.
CFES works to help under-served students get to college and be successful there by providing college-student mentors and arranging college visit trips. The program also offers a host of services and resources to students who would not otherwise have them.
"It's a program I wish I had access to as a student," said Dixon, who is the youngest of six siblings, all who put themselves through college by working or joining the military. "The impact it has on the kids at my school is tremendous."
Dixon has also made an impact - through learning about her marathon training her students became fascinated and over 100 of them came to her classroom to personally wish her luck the day before she left for Washington.
The race was the culmination of a series of gratifying events for Dixon.
Sitting at a post-race dinner hosted by CFES, Dixon laughed at the craziness of her hectic marathon training schedule, but her voice began to waver when she spoke about the donors that helped her raise $1,500.
One of her biggest donations, $100, came from her cousins, one a fellow teacher and the other an avid marathoner.
Another large donation came from a janitor at her school in Crown Point.
A week before she came to Washington the school superintendent asked: "How much more do you need to reach your goal?"
The board of education gave the rest of the money.
But it was the $5 a teacher's aide gave to Dixon's cause that meant the most.
"That was probably her extra spending money for the week," said Dixon. "This race was great, but it was during my last 20-mile training run that I was thinking about all the people who helped me out, $5 at a time, and I had this wonderful epiphany: People are good."