UPDATED: How Do Academics, Wellness, and Grassroots Activism Come Together?


Since the original publication date of this article, the 5K event to support the Colchester Community Food Shelf was a tremendous success.

The event, coordinated by Colchester High School senior Ethan Thibault and junior Nigel Sarrazin, raised $4,022 and received 228 pounds in food donations. A total of eighty-six community members ranging in age from 4 to 62 took part in the benefit event!

Participants in the 5K event to benefit the Colchester Community Food Shelf on October 27

Participants in the 5K event to benefit the Colchester Community Food Shelf on October 27

“We would like to thank everybody who volunteered their time to either participate or help out at our event,” the students said in a joint statement. “The generous donations are greatly appreciated and will go directly to the Colchester Community Food Shelf.”

To view more photographs from the October 27 event, please click here.

Congratulations, and well done, Ethan and Nigel and all in our community who participated!

As it turns out, academics, wellness, and grassroots activism can fuse quite naturally.

CHS students Nigel and Ethan Thibault

CHS students Nigel Sarrazin and Ethan Thibault

Colchester High School senior Ethan Thibault and junior Nigel Sarrazin have organized a 5K event to benefit the Colchester Community Food Shelf.

Ethan has volunteered at the Colchester Community Food Shelf for well over a year and is incorporating aspects of the program into his Senior Seminar action research project (please click here to read more about these required projects). Nigel—a member of CHS Student Government—is actively involved in community service and fundraising efforts for a variety of organizations. Both students enjoy running and have collaborated in devising the 5K as a lively way of melding an enjoyable, community-oriented activity with a great cause.

Ethan Thibault (photo contributed)

Ethan Thibault (photo contributed)

Nigel Sarrazin (photo contributed)

Nigel Sarrazin (photo contributed)

People of all ages and fitness levels are encouraged to participate in the event, which will gently weave its way through the woods behind CHS. Participants may choose to walk or run according to their preference.


“We are accepting monetary and food donations on the day of the race to benefit the Colchester Community Food Shelf, as well,” Ethan said.

The food shelf’s Shirley Meier said that though the organization has averaged approximately ninety-five clients per month over the past several months, there was a sharp spike in need in the month of September.


The 5K steps off at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 27; participants are asked to arrive for registration by 8:15. If you would like to register, please click here to access the event page.

You can also register using this QR code.


(Those who wish to register in person on the morning of the race are asked to arrive earlier.)

Rain or shine, it will be a fun community event to benefit an organization that is of immense help to many of our friends and neighbors.

Student leadership and community outreach is widespread in your community’s schools; students all across the district routinely extend themselves for the benefit of others and work hard to make a difference for those around them. Please click here to read more about just some of these shining examples of student-led activism.


This grassroots initiative well reflects the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, which speaks to Pathway A: High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Pathway C: Learning Outside Our Four Walls; Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners; and Pathway F: Wellness-Oriented, Balanced, and Healthy Learners.

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

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