St. Thomas hosts 5k race to raise funds for Breakthrough Miami

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St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School held its annual 5k alumni fun run earlier this month and, with 700 registered runners and walkers, broke its participation record. Additionally, some “star power” was added with the mascots from the University of Miami, Miami Marlins, and Miami Dolphins cheering on the athletes at the finish line.

The race, taking students, alumni, parents, Breakthrough families, and community members on a scenic route through Coral Gables, Pinecrest, and the City of Miami, raised significant funds with half going directly to Breakthrough Miami, a program that provides first-rate enrichment opportunities to high-achieving students from under-resourced backgrounds.

“Breakthrough Miami truly appreciates the support it receives from this terrific event, as well as the vision of St. Thomas and its dedicated alumni in organizing it,” said Elissa Vanaver, CEO of Breakthrough Miami. “They have united this community around the goal of great education for all, and that’s a powerful statement.”

Breakthrough Miami, St. Thomas’ partner since the race’s conception six years ago, has received half of all race net proceeds since 2010.

“We love our partnership with Breakthrough because this organization provides us an opportunity to support incredible kids across the community,” said Linda Johnson, Director of Advancement at St. Thomas and race organizer. “Breakthrough Miami’s programs take place at many of our ‘feeder schools,’ including Carrollton, Palmer Trinity, Ransom, and Gulliver.”

Run by St. Thomas alumni, the target audience of this annual event is the greater community. The alumni chairs for this year’s race included Olivia Bacardi, Wesley Cusack, Henry Fernandez, Julia Irvin, and Abigail Roberts leading a committee of approximately 30 other alums.

“Children graduate from St. Thomas, but the race is a fantastic way for them to stay connected to the school that they love so much,” said Mrs. Johnson.

Special recognition for funds raised goes to corporate sponsors. This includes Windhaven Insurance, Tutorial Resources, Ashley Cusack Realty, Shubin & Bass, Boyne Capital Markets, Quirch Foods, Dade Physical Therapy, Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables, James Voglino, M.D., TropiCars, Polga Medical Group, Mariani Orthodontics, Oceania Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Starbucks, JustAskBoo, Power Pizzeria, Perdigon Title Services. The event also received amazing support from current and alumni families.

“I am so proud of the Outreach work of our school,” said Lillian Issa, head of school. “What a wonderful blessing it is to be a private school with a public purpose – we are fortunate to be able to show our students what it means to have a positive impact on others in our community.”

About St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School:
Located in Coral Gables, Florida, St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School (STEPS) was founded in 1963. Now in its 63rd year, St. Thomas has grown to include grades junior preschool through 5th grade and has 425 students. It is a secure and loving community that nurtures and challenges children and teaches them to honor God, respect others and themselves, care for their world, and develop a lasting enthusiasm for discovering and learning. St. Thomas utilizes the STEAM method of teaching, integrating the key areas of learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). For information on St. Thomas, please call 305-665-4851 or visit

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