A mural in the library at Melton Elementary School depicts Michele Cervantes reading to children.

 

The Northwest Reno community comes together each September to celebrate its children and to reconfirm a belief in the importance of education. The MC Believe in Education 5K and Fun Run, which marks its seventh year on Sunday, September 23, attracts young and old, fit and not-so-fit, people who participate every year and first-timers, all supporting a common cause.

Organizers of MC Believe, from left: Kim Greene, Bonnie Hughes, Kim Devine and Jackie Griffin (not pictured, Traci Dean and Ken Cervantes).

The “MC” in the event’s name and its inspiration is former Somersett resident Michele Cervantes, a beloved teacher who lost her battle with cancer in 2010. Michele taught at Jessie Beck and Rollan Melton elementary schools and was known as a wonderful educator who truly cared about her students. A group of Michele’s friends – Kim Devine, Jackie Griffin, Kim Greene, Bonnie Hughes and Traci Dean – along with Michele’s husband, Ken, created MC Believe as a way of paying tribute to Michele’s lifelong passion for learning. “MC Believe is all about Michele’s vision of seeing kids grow and get a great education,’’ says Kim Devine. “It’s a sense of community and giving,’’ adds Jackie, “and putting faith in our future – in our kids.’’

Money raised from the event funds scholarships for graduates of McQueen High School. In 2018, those recipients were Sarah Lotritz and Braydon Herrera. One year a scholarship went to Rachel Rezaei, one of Michele’s former students, who wrote an essay which was mounted on a plaque that now hangs outside the gym at the high school.

Organizers say that despite its sad origins, MC Believe is a joyful occasion. They even dubbed the midway point of the 5K “Happy Hill,” a spot at the top of the Boulders where runners’ and walkers’ spirits are boosted with music and water and, most of all, the knowledge that it’s all downhill from there.

But even with the positive atmosphere, emotions sometimes bubble up.

“On the day of everybody gets a little choked up, says Kim Devine. “Just seeing everybody out there, some who knew Michele and some who didn’t and they’re all grateful for what we’re doing. We always go out on the deck and see them take off down and around the lake. It’s really amazing!”

 

About MC Believe in Education 5K and Fun Run

When: Sunday, September 23. 8:30 am walk | 8:40 am run | 9:45 am kids fun run

Registration forms: Available here and at the concierge desk

Due to parking restrictions, the 5K race will be limited to the first 500 paid and registered participants, so mark your calendars now and sign up early!

 

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