Running in the hallways is usually forbidden at school, but Tunkhannock Area Primary Center made an exception last Friday.
Students in kindergarten through second grade spent their school morning racing through the halls in honor of their first grade classmate, Allison Tinna.
At 18 months old, Tinna was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Since 2016, she has received therapy through Allied Services, which serves individuals with disabilities.
For 10 years, Allied Services has been the focus of the Ryan’s Run fundraising campaign through local news station WNEP-TV. On Sunday, runner Beth Pallman represented Tinna on the Ryan’s Run team at the New York City Marathon.
“I met Allison two years ago when she was the ambassador for another runner and I just thought she was absolutely great,” Pallman said. “When I found out that I was running again this year, I was looking for an ambassador for myself, and she was the first person I thought of.”
Ahead of the marathon, the TAPC held “Run for Allison” to raise money for Ryan’s Run and honor one of its own students.
Each student was asked to donate $1 to the cause and also wear orange, which was this year’s Ryan’s Run color.
The TAPC Parent Teacher Organization, Tunkhannock Area Intermediate Center and Weis Markets in Tunkhannock also contributed to the collection for Ryan’s Run. Altogether, a little over $1,200 was raised.
Tinna, who had been looking forward to the event all week, watched in delight as her classmates rounded the corner of the hallway and greeted her on their run.
“She is one of the happiest little girls you would ever meet,” said Laura Kalmanowicz, K-2 life skills teacher. “She loves school. She enjoys watching other students in the school, seeing them play. She loves watching the vans and the buses every morning. She’s very eager to learn and participate. She loves being in class.”
The best was saved for last when Tinna’s peers from Kammy Puza’s first grade class showed their support with handmade signs. Afterwards, they joined Tinna as she took her turn going through the halls with her walker.
The scene evoked an emotional response from TAPC faculty members, as well as Tinna’s parents, who said the support for their daughter was “just amazing.”
“This is just wonderful to see the whole community come together,” said mother Nicole Tinna, who teaches in the intermediate center. “It was just so sweet. It’s great to see the whole school come out and support her.”
Over the last two years since meeting Tinna, Pallman has witnessed her progress by “leaps and bounds.”
“She’s just fantastic. I was blown away by her when I met her for the first time and then two years later, seeing her and how far she’s come, it’s amazing,” Pallman said.
This was Pallman’s third time participating in the NYC Marathon with Ryan’s Run to benefit Allied Services.
“They provide so many services for the residents of our communities in northeastern and central Pennsylvania that allow families like Allison’s to get the care that they need for their children close to home,” she said. “It’s just a great opportunity to have a facility like Allied in our area.”
With Run for Allison, Kalmanowicz hoped for students in the primary center to see the positive effects of helping others.
Opportunities like these go beyond what students learn in the classroom, creating real life experiences for them to learn from, she added.
“I think it’s positive as a school community to raise awareness of all of our students and the challenges that they face, and incorporating the fact that we’re accepting of all and we want to support each and every student here,” Kalmanowicz said. “It’s encouraging that community feeling and supporting each other. I think that’s the biggest thing here to walk away from.”
Pallman finished the NYC Marathon on Sunday in a time of five hours and five minutes, holding a pace of 11:38 per mile.