VMA treks for its track

VMA treks for its track
Mr. “B”, Ph. Ed. Teacher Michael Bernard (right), leads sixth graders in warm up exercises before taking part in “Trekking For Our Track” run.
Photo and caption by Silvio Pacifico

It seems the Villa Maria Academy track and field has been on a losing streak – the field that is, not necessarily the team.

But it’s wealth of supporters will do just about anything to turn that around.

They’ve banded together for a sequel of sorts — restoring the scenic course battered by Superstorm Sandy last October.

The storm inflicted a whirlwind of damage so strong that a dock, neighboring fence and a jet ski washed ashore.

“We never seen anything like that,” said parent Vincent Serratore of Country Club, whose son attends VMA.

The damage was even more tremendous than the year before when Hurricane Irene devastated the track, causing roughly $20,000 damage.

And once again the school is scheduling “Trekking For Our Track II,” to raise funds to repair the field torn apart by Sandy.

“Insurance is covering all but six or seven thousand dollars,” said Michael Bernard, longtime gym teacher at the Catholic school.

For the past week, Bernard rallied kids from kindergarten to sixth grade to circle the Country Club campus’ parking lot, serving as a makeshift track.

The charitable run was made possible by students who fanned out in their neighborhoods collecting sponsors, running a lap per donation.

“I’m hoping everyone has enough money to help fix the track,” said Joey Rao, 12, one of several dozen kids taking part in the drive.

Fellow classmate Charly-Ann Casali, 11, listened to her iPod while circling the lot 22 times. For the past year many of her friends were shocked to see the track had been wiped out “especially since we just fixed it.”

Kids haven’t been able to fully utilize the track since mid-2011 after Hurricane Irene blasted through the Bronx school, razing the asphalt while knocking out the seawall overlooking the Long Island Sound.

About $20,000 was raised to repair the course during the original Trekking for the Track, an amount Bernard was thrilled to see.

Bernard was equally impressed to see volunteer parents come out and support the kids, keeping track of the number of laps sprinted and handing out fruit and water for the kids.

“The parents are really the backbone of the school,” said Bernard.

Anyone wishing to donate can call the Villa Maria Academy’s Advancement Office at 718-829-2210.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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