Marcus for Change 5k

Stamford High Girls’ Field Hockey team at the 5k.

Annie Archer and Madison Johnson, Staff Writers

On Sunday, October 5 at Cove Island Park, members of our community, including many Stamford High and Westhill students, came together to support the second annual Marcus for Change 5k. The Marcus for Change 5k raises money for organizations and foundations that help underprivileged youth, such as the Domus Academy, giving them opportunities to succeed. “Over 300 participants took part in the event,” said Mark Quinones, who played a major role in coordinating the event. Another volunteer shared that the turnout was similar to last year, but there was a lot more student participation.

Marcus Dixon grew up in Stamford, Connecticut. He faced many challenges in his youth, both family related and behavioral, which stunted his academic success.  By the time Dixon was a teenager, he was living in the back of a car, and involved in gang activity.

Stamford resident, Mark Lyons knew Marcus from a very young age through the Stamford Youth football program, and ultimately became the reason why Dixon was able to turn his life around. Lyons shared insight on Dixon’s story: Dixon reached out to Lyons, asking for help and to get him back on track academically, and to gain a spot the Stamford High School football team. Lyons worked with Marcus, and got him into the alternate high school in Stamford. While Dixon attended alternate high school, he received A’s and B’s and played on the Stamford High JV football team. Dixon’s good grades allowed him to finally transfer to Stamford High, and become a star running back on the Varsity football team.

A north Stamford Family, whom had heard of Dixon’s story, the McInerneys, adopted Marcus at age 17, and gave him the love and support he needed to turn his life completely around. Marcus went on to play football at West Point. “It’s a tragic ending to a happy story,” said Mark Lyons, who explained that it was the “biggest turnaround story,” he has ever seen.

Part of what made this run such a success was the participation from the students of our community. Many of Stamford High School’s sports teams, including both Boys and Girls Basketball, Football, Field Hockey and Cheerleading took part in the event. Due to the spirit and support displayed by Stamford High athletes, our school received an award of 1,000 dollars toward our Parent/Teacher Association for having the most spirit and participation out of all the schools in Stamford. The award was accepted by the cheerleading coach, Taylor Sechi, and in addition, the Stamford High boys’ Basketball team won World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc tickets to go watch a few matches, because they were the sports team with the biggest turnout in all of Stamford.

The Marcus for Change 5k was a huge success. The money and awareness raised through this event can help give opportunities to children in Stamford that struggle just as Marcus did.