DENVILLE, NJ – More than 50 Denville residents and out-of-towners participated in the second annual Denville Runs on Service 5K (DRS 5K) on Oct. 6. Organized by the Morris Knolls High School Interact Club, a youth program sponsored by the Denville Rotary Club, the 5K run raised nearly $5,000.
The DRS 5K, a 3.1-mile course, attracted parents, teachers, coaches and other service providers in support of the community and the Interact Club.
“It’s important to be involved,” said Denville resident Andrea Zeydelis, who ran in the 5K with her seven-year-old son Evan.
“The Interact Club is a getaway to get involved in the community and then evolve into a Rotarian. It’s about service over self!”
The runners were more than happy to put service over self.
“I feel very good crossing that finish line,” said Dover resident Duncan Villarevia, the first runner to finish.
“All the kids here have got this 5K organized, and I’ll be back next year.”
Villarevia has run in events such as this for the last 11 years. His race time at the DRS 5K was estimated at 18 minutes and 55 seconds.
The first female runner to cross the finish line was Hackettstown resident Jodi Chitticks at 22 minutes and 57 seconds.
“It’s awesome to cross the finish line first among all ladies,” said Chitticks, who has run in 5Ks for about 10 years.
“This 5K benefits all different clubs and charities, and it's great to be a part of it. And I’m proud of my kids running in it.”
Chitticks is the coach of the cross-country team at Craig High School in Boonton and raced with several of her students.
DRS 5K is one of many programs organized or sponsored by the Interact Club. Interact students have helped in various township events, including Christmas celebrations at Santa Land, the Senior Citizen Dinner, the Denville Street Fair, and Penny Wars during spirit week. High schoolers also have donated money to several charities such as Avery’s Fund, Habitat for Humanity, spearheaded supply drives for Sri Lankans and U.S. soldiers, supported Project Graduation, and raised funds for school projects like the new Morris Knolls sign on Knoll Drive.
“The Interact Club is my favorite program at Morris Knolls,” said 17-year-old senior Arianna Garda, from Rockaway Township, who serves as the club’s president.
“We prepare and do a lot of service events. Anyone who comes out and volunteers is really excited. And when it’s over, they ask when’s the next big event that they can help at. The 5K is our biggest event, and everyone is eager to help.”
“The Rotary Club of Denville is very fortunate to be able to partner with the Interact Club at Morris Knolls High School and host the Denville Runs on Service 5K,” said Janet Navarro, president of the Denville Rotary Club.
“We are really proud of all the hard work by the students and their adviser Rebecca Rock to make this a successful fundraising event. We are also thankful to the Denville Township administration, police and fire departments for all of their support, to all of the sponsors and donors for their generosity and to the runners who showed up to support this event.”
Most of the proceeds from the event will be donated to two Denville-based organizations, Denville Social Services and Roots & Wings, a nonprofit organization that supports young adults who age out of foster care. The Interact Club will retain a portion of the proceeds to support its activities.
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