Virginia teacher runs 105 miles to Washington DC to help send students to college

Kate Fletcher started her run at Louisa County High School and ended the marathon at the Lincoln Memorial.
Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 6:36 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Louisa County English teacher Kate Fletcher arrived in Washington DC with a wide smile even as her legs shook from exhaustion and cold. The finish line at the Lincoln Memorial marked mile number 105 in her epic 2-day journey that began in Virginia.

“It has definitely, definitely been a long haul and a hard challenge to get all the way here and in the night,” said Fletcher. “There were times where I was really doubting myself, where I was afraid that I wouldn’t make it here. And so, to actually be right here at the reflecting pool, despite all those doubts and fears, is definitely an emotional moment.”

Fletcher’s run raises money for scholarships for students as part of the Lion Pride Run. As of Tuesday, the run had raised $42,416.

“It’s a wonderful feeling. I mean, I know so many of the kids who’ve received the scholarships. I’ve taught so many of them. So, in years past quite a few of them were former students of mine and I know how hard they worked and how deserving they were. And I know that this spring at the awards assembly, we will award the money that we raised this year to those students who are selected for the Lion Pride Scholarship,” said Fletcher.

Fletcher was welcomed at the Lincoln Memorial by a roar of Louisa County students, cheerleaders, and even the marching band.

“Each of you lifted me up and carried me here in your own way,” said Fletcher in a speech to the crowd.

Former student Taylor Talley attended Louisa County High School and received one of the scholarships from the Lion Pride Run in 2020. She now interns for Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) in Washington DC. She greeted Fletcher at the finish line as she credits the teacher with helping her to attend University of Georgia.

“She runs for not just her students in the classroom, all students, and for the struggles that they faced in their life, getting to where they want to be later on after their high school graduation,” said Talley, “and so for me, it was a huge honor to receive one of these scholarships just to be able to know that she ran and did this for me for what I wanted to do and achieve my dreams.”

Talley graduates in May of 2023 with a double major in political science and human development family sciences.

“It’s so hard to be able to pay for college, especially when you don’t have that financial support, when you come from a low income family, or just even a middle class family. Now, it’s really, really hard to be able to afford this. So, it was a huge deal and opportunity for me, especially since I was able to go to my dream school out of state, the University of Georgia,” said Talley. “...I’m just very, very fortunate and grateful. And, there’s not enough words in the English language to describe Miss Fletcher and what she’s done for all these students.”

Spanberger also applauded Fletcher for her work for students in Virginia. She said she had ‘no idea’ that her intern, Talley, had been one of the former recipients of the scholarships until her staff was discussing Fletcher in the congressional office.

“I think it speaks to the sorts of just community focus that exists in Louisa County. I think it speaks to the fact that, you know, she’s (Fletcher) setting a tremendous example. And, so students like the young woman in our office has been able to set her sights on coming to Capitol Hill, working in a congressional office and hopefully getting some extraordinary experiences out of it,” said Spanberger.

Fletcher hopes her run will inspire others to chase their goals.

When Washington News Bureau asked Fletcher what advice she would give to others, she said “there’s no finish line and that we all have boundless potential.”

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