The St. John’s community comes together every year to celebrate the life of former student Carl Waclawik ’10 with the thing he loved most, running.
Since Mr. Sheehy became the head cross country coach at St. John’s 13 years ago, SJC has had a student and faculty 5K race.
However, the event took on a new meaning 11 years ago with the passing of a member of the cross country team. Carl Waclawik, Class of 2010, died unexpectedly during his sophomore year.
The team was determined to honor his memory in a positive way. According to Mr. Sheehy, it was Carl’s teammates who suggested they make the annual 5K a memorial run. Carl loved to run and it seemed a fitting way to remember him.
“Even though this event came about from something very sad, Carl would be happy to know that St. John’s gets together each year to run. Carl embraced everything that it meant to be a runner,” Mr. Sheehy said. He remembers Waclawik going to a running camp one summer and coming back with the idea of doing barefoot strides. Ten years later, the team still practices this.
Carl’s family is very pleased to see that his legacy is still being remembered. His sister, Sydney Waclawik ’07, returns each year for the event. “Coming back to St. John’s every fall to attend the Waclawik 5K allows me to celebrate his life and honor his memory,” she said.
One of his teachers at St. John’s was religion teacher Mr. Cooper. Despite only knowing him for a few months, Mr. Cooper said that Carl was a very positive person with many ambitions. “I think Carl, a young wonderful man, is up there looking down on us and shining on St. John’s,” Mr. Cooper said.
Sydney Waclawik said, “My brother had a passion and zest for life that was truly contagious, and for the St. John’s community to celebrate his life every year at the Waclawik 5K allows his memory to live on.”
This year’s Waclawik 5k will take place this Thursday, Oct 18. The race begins at 3:45 pm on patio outside the cafeteria. All students, faculty, and community members are invited to participate in the memorial 5K.