Miles for Montclair raises $23K for homeless students

Director Clemons, Prof. Hicks and Prof. Quarles participate in the Miles for Montclair Walkathon.

When the “Cupid Shuffle” began to blast over speakers on Monday at Montclair High School, students wearing maroon T-shirts flooded the quad, preparing themselves to dance. But it wasn’t a school dance or even a school day: it was for the annual Miles for Montclair 5K walkathon event held on the National Day of Service.

“There was a lot more student involvement this year,” said Amahl Thomas, a social studies teacher who organized the event. “We have a Miles for Montclair Club and they were instrumental in designing the shirts and helping set up and clean up. It was already a grassroots production but it’s more so now.”

This year’s event raised $23,000 and 832 students participated, according to Thomas.

There are currently 350 designated homeless students at Montclair High School and the proceeds of the 5K walkathon go to helping them get food or temporary housing.

This is the seventh year of the walkathon, which stemmed from Thomas and another teacher’s realization that there were quite a few homeless students at the school. The walk aims to de-stigmatize the issue of homelessness and make an impact on Montclair High School students, Thomas said.

The walkathon began at about 9:30 a.m. and concluded with a lunch provided by Rocco’s Pizza.

“We help our community and our school and I know somebody personally who was homeless and they’ve been homeless all their lives and even now, they’re living with someone they don’t know,” said Valerie Munoz, a senior. “Once you meet somebody personally who has been through something so horrific, it’s nice to give back to them. Because they’re the community, they’re family so we should all help them.”