Go the Distance


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by Martin Tighe

Go the distance web site,
Press Release (PDF): Attleboro High School Adjustment Counselor Sets Four New World Records (50 km, 50 mi, 100 km, 12 hrs)

Many adolescents struggle with thoughts and pressures about what lies ahead of them after high school. Often students experience high levels of anxiety over what roles they might play in this ever changing, highly competitive work force. For some it might mean college, vocational school, or an apprenticeship, while others transition immediately into the workforce. However, for an increasing number of students dropping out has become an option. According to the Children's Defense Fund, one U.S. high school student drops out every 9 seconds. Attleboro High School's Network program is about to embark on a new project, which will stress the importance of a high school diploma. Its attainment is considered vital for achievement of meaningful life goals.

In 1998, Attleboro school department started an alternative high school program, the Network, in an effort to address the needs of students who had experienced significant school failure and considered at-risk of dropping out of school. Two years ago, Martin Tighe, the adjustment counselor at the program wanted to show his student population they could succeed at almost anything, if they set goals, worked hard, and had a positive attitude. His goal was to compete in the first ever North Pole Marathon. The Network Parent Teachers' Organization embraced this project, called the North Pole project. With their sponsorship and strong support from the community and businesses in the area, Martin was sent off to the North Pole carrying a flag with the school department's motto, "Together, we learn, grow, and succeed". Martin won the race, and then immediately made a call to Attleboro from the geographic North Pole to share with the community not only his, but their, accomplishment. Martin demonstrated that by being focused and working hard, individuals could achieve their goals, no matter to what end of the world they took you! The project provided an invaluable learning experience that engaged students in authentic, reality based education.

On Friday, April 29th and Saturday, April 30th, Martin Tighe will again, with strong parent and community support, demonstrate how one can strive to achieve meaningful goals. He will attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the most miles run on a treadmill in 24 hours. The record stands at 154 miles. This new initiative "Go the Distance" is designed to promote community awareness of the importance of completing high school. The Parent Teacher Organization and Network Advisory board, co-sponsors for this project, have two major goals. The first, to provide for students, parents and the Attleboro community, information that supports   life-long learning and second, to raise funds for use in developing drop-out prevention strategies. Ultimately, this project hopes that this support will lead to increasing graduation rates among Attleboro students. Throughout the 24 hours, individuals or groups who have partnered with the Network program to support student learning, have expressed interest in running alongside Martin to actively demonstrate this invaluable support. In addition, information booths will be set up by various organizations all committed to supporting education for high school students, especially those most at risk for leaving school prior to graduation.

The staff at the Network program is very much aware that some students have little or no desire to graduate from high school. Many feel as though they are just wasting time, getting nowhere fast, or just spinning their wheels. Sounds a little like being on a treadmill. To "go the distance", that is, staying in school and attaining a high school diploma, positions these students to reap more economic benefits than those students who choose not to complete their education. It is the hope of those associated with this project, that more adolescents will be encouraged to "go the distance" when they understand the negative consequences associated with dropping out. Jenna, a recent graduate of the Network, recognized and encouraged her classmates to appreciate the power that education held for them. Students through their engagement in this learning project will learn, first hand, how increased knowledge and perseverance can empower them to achieve meaningful life goals.
For more information contact:

Dr. Kathy Vespia     Network Coordinator    kvespia@attleboroschools.com 
Martin Tighe          Program Counselor    mtighe@attleboroschools.com
Telephone:                508-2231549

Treadmill World Record List