UCS paraprofessional creates positive energy with students by sharing his fitness story celebrating UCS
UCS paraprofessional creates positive energy with students by sharing his fitness story celebrating UCS
Posted on 01/29/2021
Here is a story about the difference one person can make when it comes to creating positive energy. 

Utica Community Schools Paraprofessional Stephen Laskowski decided around the new year that he would run to every building in Utica Community Schools as a tribute to the people and students in the district he loves. 

“I wanted to share my heart and support to all those involved in the district - teachers, students, all staff members, and parents,” he said. “Each person makes up and has an important role in the UCS family.  Each person is what makes UCS one of the greatest and successful districts around.”

When his story went viral, UCS junior high school physical education teachers invited him to virtually share the importance of fitness with their students. 

“We are lucky to live in a large community that can help and educate our kids at large. Hearing Steve grew up in UCS, now working in UCS and dedicating his run to UCS is quite an honor.,” said physical education teacher Erin Chambers. “I wanted the kids to hear about what motivated Steve: his health.”

Teachers involved in the project incuded physical education teacher Chambers,   Katie Campbell.  Colleen Bates and Michelle Thompson. 

Davis eighth-grader Araceli Martinez- Flores was one student who heard his story.

"It is inspiring to me as a young person because I want to stay in shape and be healthy,” she said. 
 
Laskowski, who has been with UCS since 2016, created a PowerPoint to show students his run and his unique style of staying in shape, focusing on the fun he has while he exercises.
 
“The students loved his story because many of them could relate to Steve,” said Thompson. “He proved it's possible to make the choice to get up and MOVE.  He was thrilled when he completed his first mile without walking....and now he ran 52 miles!!”

Laskowski first starting including schools in his run in April, when he ran a 5K around Collins Elementary neighborhood. Around Christmas, he ran by all of the elementary schools dressed as an elf. 

In early January, he began to think he would try running to every UCS building – something he accomplished on January 9.
 
“Even though my legs were feeling the exhaustion around the 40 mile mark, I wouldn't let that stop me,” he said. “ I wanted to share with the students (and others) about perseverance in achieving your goal.  No matter how tough things seem to be, or get, we can still persevere through it to achieve our goal.”

UCS teachers said it was message that was well received by their students.
 
“Steve has been an example of finding a way to support his community during this ‘not normal’ time and I want kids to see that stepping outside the box to show support and helping in a community is really important,” Chambers said.