Suncrest Dog Jog Sees Hundreds Of Students & Families Join For Friday Night Festivities

Racers fly out of the starting gate for the 1-mile fun run.

The Second Annual Suncrest Elementary School Dog Job 5K Run and Walk was a success with hundreds of Suncrest students, family members and community members vying for a top-place finish in the race while enjoying carnival games, face painting and booths from local organizations.

The event was inspired last year by the introduction of Bear, an emotional support dog, into the school system, and it acted as a fundraiser to raise funding to continue Bear’s care well into the future.

Last year, the Dog Jog event welcomed over 100 registrants vying for a top-place finish as they embarked on a race around Suncrest throughout the neighboring streets, and this year’s events saw a similar amount of participants with an increased number of community members gathering to enjoy the carnival festivities. Principal Diane Vielee and Assistant Principal Samantha Mitchell stated that the 1-mile Fun Run received a slew of positive feedback from children and parents that participated before the 5K readied its racers. The 5K wrapped up as an hour neared on the clock with participants stating that they will encourage their friends to participate alongside them next year.

The Dog Jog acts as a fun way to exercise some friendly competition.

Prior to the race, children were invited to participate in carnival games and activities such as basketball toss, bean bag toss, musical chairs, ring toss and much more. Many children were spotted wearing a new coat of face paint provided by community members throughout the event as an additional way to engage the community. Mitchell stated that the success of the event will ensure the upkeep of Bear for the students at Suncrest once he joins the family in 2024.

“It kind of culminated in the fundraising for Bear, the ongoing upkeep of him and additional expenses,” Mitchell said. “Anything above and beyond we need for the dog is going to go right back to the kids at the school. We appreciate everyone’s support, and we look forward to next year.”

Vielee and Mitchell expressed that the Dog Jog was created to become an annual event at Suncrest with new and innovative additions each year, and this year saw the additional of booths from local organizations, food trucks and even more carnival games. This year also lived up to its promise of Bear’s appearance as community members gathered to greet the newest addition to the Suncrest family.

Assistant Principal Samantha Mitchell poses with Bear all grown up.

At its core, the event acted as an appreciation celebration for the students and community members that made the purchase of Bear a possibility through donations, sponsorships and volunteerism. The Suncrest crew plans to continue celebrating the community by showcasing Bear at local events, such as the Hot Dog Festival this summer, to highlight the impact that community members will make on every student at Suncrest through Bear.

“We really appreciate the community support not just in fundraising for Bear but all year long,” Mitchell said. “The community supports us at all of our events. They show up for things we put on. They support the teachers. They support the students, and this was just a way to say thank you and give back to the community.”

For more information on the Dog Jog and Bear’s developments, visit Suncrest Elementary School on Facebook or call the school for more information about next year’s event at 765-659-6265.

Racers take off at blinding speeds for the Dog Jog 5K.