In a short address to the crowd gathering in Kingsborough Community College’s gymnasium yesterday, President Regina Peruggi spoke about the placement of the word “community” within the school’s official title. It may have fallen upon deaf ears in the buzzing crowd, but the brief speech before KBCC’s first annual Strive to Provide Walkathon set the pace for the afternoon.
More than 600 students, staff, and faculty gathered to participate in this initial foray into scholarship fundraising, racking up $15,000 for student scholarships. Clearly, attendees gave good reason for the placement of the word “Community” in between “Kingsborough” and “College”, blowing away the initial goal of raising only $4000.
The “Rocky” theme echoed through the gym as everyone gathered to warm up. Despite the overcast day, the weather held and the 48 teams marched on. Team captains hoisted their signs high in the air as KBCC students cheered and encouraged the walkers along the path. Starting within the gym and following the seawall lining Jamaica Bay, walkers marched along the perimeter of the campus not once, but twice, before regrouping in the gym for refreshments, prizes and affirmation from KBCC’s cheerleaders. All the while, KBCC mascot, “The Wave” raced around shouting, “You can do it!” and “Keep going!”
Local businesses, such as Tasty Bagel, Maria’s Restaurant, and Kingsborough’s favorite just-round-the-corner joint Pizza Boulevard, provided door prizes to groups that had raised the most money. The big winners of the day, for both best costume and name, were Milano’s Cookies (donning chef hats and white jackets), led by faculty member Frank Milano. The Buildings and Grounds team, dressed as bees, came in with a close second. They weren’t stung by second place – they received the same prize because it was simply too hard to decide who had the better threads.
Keeping with the spirit of Kingsborough’s generosity, nobody walked home empty-handed. T-shirts and mugs were distributed to some participants while one lucky walker went home with a brand new TV, funded by a separate raffle – 100 percent of yesterday’s walkathon proceeds went directly to fund student scholarships. Every participant walked home with their very own gold medal.
Without the support of such a proactive and lively community, there would be no Kingsborough – and yesterday’s success continues to prove just the worth – beyond mere finance – of our Harvard by the Bay.