Louis “Luigi” Borda, a seventh-grade geography teacher at Philadelphia magnet school Masterman, ran 100 laps around his school Monday. He invited other teachers, students and community members to join him in raising funds for Masterman’s middle school athletic budget.
Last June, Borda ran 100 miles from the School District of Philadelphia building to the State Capitol to raise awareness about what he calls the “public education crisis.”
Borda’s new initiative, Laps for Education, raised funds on a pledge-per-lap basis. He sought to collect $10,000 for the athletic program, which now has no funding. At the start of the event, students had raised about $6,000; they hope to know if they hit the $10,000 mark by mid-week.
The runners were supported by their classmates and by Students Run Philly Style, an organization that pairs students with running leaders who help them achieve fitness goals such as marathon training.
From Students Run Philly Style, Kristen Daily-Barnes was at the school to hand out water bottles. Praising Borda for his efforts, she said students who attend underfunded schools are not getting the physical education that they deserve.
“They’re not learning how to be healthy, they’re not practicing healthy behaviors,” she said. “So Luigi is trying to raise awareness for that, and money so that they can do something about it.”
Borda is a volunteer for Students Run Philly Style.
Sixth-grader William Stocovaz ran 19 laps around the school and raised $103. He hopes his efforts will help create a track team. He and his classmates are thrilled that Borda organized the event.
Borda’s biggest supporter, ninth-grader Angelica Borda, was there making a video about her father.
“My dad is a very enthusiastic, optimistic person and he just wanted to help his school so he decided to run 100 laps,” she said. “I’m not exactly sure how much that is, but I know it’s a lot of miles!”
At noon, as school was dismissed, students gathered to cheer Borda along his 102nd and last lap. That adds up to more than 25 miles.