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 funds for Make- A-Wish Connecticut.
Steven, nicknamed “Weev” by his family, died peacefully aged 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 endowed our school with wisdom beyond his years,” Jacowleff said.
Steven’s impact on those who knew him was hard to miss throughout the event.
It was especially pronounced when family, friends, students and faculty filled the college auditorium before the race to listen to the words of those who organized the event.
Community members gathered to hear the words of Jack Ryan, Steven’s friend who paved the way for the organization of the Sudell Sprint, as well as Principal Gordon Beinstein and others on what the young man and the charitable organization run in his name meant to them.
The time in the auditorium ended with Jack’s official announcement proving the event was as much a success in the fundraising department as it was a big moment for everyone involved.
The Sudell Sprint raises funds by selling t-shirts, wristbands and accepting donations from the community. This year, they were able to raise an extremely impressive amount of $5,902 through these means.
“It took 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 finally paid off as everyone exited the auditorium to take part in the main event of the day: the color race.
The race is a trip to Dorothy Hamill, during which all participants were given cups of paint to throw in the air and cover their white tees. This added an extra layer of fun to the event as everyone made sure no shirts were left undone before the race started.
“Today you’re really going to see 8th graders having fun, using their time to raise funds, and that’s what’s important,” Jack said.
The biggest difference between this year and previous Sudell Sprint events was that the class that participated in the original event four years ago were invited to participate before they graduated from high school.
“We invited the high school kids back because it was Steven’s class,” Beinstein explained. “We met
as a committee trying to figure out how to make this year really special. The idea was, “Let’s get Steven’s friends here,” and it seemed like about half the class was there, which is amazing. This makes this year unique.
After the race, participants were rewarded with music and plenty of food donations at the finish line to celebrate and take pictures in their newly painted t-shirts – a fitting end to something that
is organized by members of a community who wish to give back, on behalf of someone who has given
so much for them.
“We received a ton of donations for food. Everything is given, all the food, all the water, everything
comes from people giving back to the community, which is good,” Beinstein said.