The CM middle school cross country team competed in the virtual Welles Crowther Red Bandanna 5k on Friday.
West Roxbury, Mass. — Donning red bandannas, the Catholic Memorial middle school cross country team laced up their sneakers and met at O’Connor Stadium Friday afternoon for the 2020 virtual Welles Crowther Red Bandanna 5k.
Led by coach Mrs. Katie Rich, nine middle school runners agreed to run the socially distant race together on campus at the suggestion of 8th grade teammate Zachary Vianna, who insisted on paying tribute to Mr. Crowther after learning about his heroics on 9/11 in theology class.
“Two of the central elements of a CM education are service and integrity,” Mrs. Rich said.
“Welles Crowther embodied these two traits on September 11, 2001; it is important to use opportunities like this to honor him and to teach students about his life and legacy."
Every October, Boston College hosts its red bandanna race in memory of Mr. Crowther, a 1999 BC alumnus who died in the South Tower of the World Trade Center rescuing civilians on 9/11.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 race was converted into a remote event, offering individuals the opportunity to run the 5k anywhere, anytime between October 17th and October 30th. The virtual race provided Mrs. Rich’s team with an opportunity to race together for the first time in two weeks, as their regularly scheduled meets had been cancelled.
According to the race website, the annual race, “brings together Welles’ family, friends, BC alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends from all over the country to celebrate and honor the life of this incredible individual.”
Mr. Crowther serves as the focus of Tom Rinaldi’s book The Man in the Red Bandanna. The book chronicles the heroic actions of Mr. Crowther on 9/11 and provides readers with a personified example of character, duty, and service.
Last summer, CM chose the book as its Summer All-School Read and invited Alison Crowther, the mother of Mr. Crowther, to campus for a school-wide discussion on character in September. Her keynote address
formally launched the school’s “Character Matters” initiative.
On that same day, the school honored its first responder community and the lives of two alumni who died on 9/11, Mr. Mark Bavis ’88 and Mr. John Cahill ’62, at its Friday Night Lights: A Salute to First Responders football game.
“Looking back at how our school community honored Welles last year, I’m amazed by the impact the programming had on our middle school students,” Mrs. Rich said.
“Their willingness to step up and lead by example is truly inspiring.”