Reporting Lisa Hughes
BOSTON (CBS) – There’s another B.A.A. of the Boston Marathon, and they too are gearing up for Monday’s 117th running of the world famous race.
In the shadows of Fenway Park sits another – although less famous – Boston jewel.
The Boston Arts Academy is the city’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts. The passion and energy of these aspiring artists rivals anything you’ll find in the ballpark across the street.
“This is a great school. I enjoy coming here every day,” said Emilio Rome, a junior at the arts school. “It’s fun.”
“I get to express myself. I come here and do it, and still go to classes like a regular person,” said Berline Charles, also a junior.
The academics are just as important as the arts, as more than 94-percent of the B.A.A.’s students go on to college.
“We’re a full college prep, plus two and a half hours of arts every day,” explained Rick Tagliaferri, Executive Director of the B.A.A. foundation. “We have to raise extra money to pay for art teachers, and art supplies and production costs not covered by public allocations.”
That’s where the “other” B.A.A. comes in. The group that organizes the Boston Marathon (the Boston Athletic Association) made the Arts School an official charity for the race. Fifteen runners – including two of the school’s teachers – hope to raise $100,000 this year.
“I know how hard the students work on academics and arts,” said Alexis Regan, a special education teacher at the school. “What’s been motivating has been knowing where my fundraising is going, and how important it is to raise that money for the students.”
“I think it shows how much love they have for this community and for the students,” said junior Rocky Cotard. “I think it’s a good thing.”
And the students give that love back trading their instruments and paintbrushes for running shoes. The Rockets are a student group that runs with their teachers once a week.
“It’s running that makes you chill out a little better; keeps the stress level down,” said Rocky.
“There’s something special about jogging with people,” Rebecca Hayes, a Spanish teacher at B.A.A. said. “You’re moving in the same direction, everyone feels comfortable and they kids open up a little more when you’re doing an activity like running together.”
“I’ve learned a lot about resilience and perseverance ” she continued. “I’ve seen students push through challenges and it’s taught me a lot and it relates to the marathon. It taught me about pushing through hard times.
The dancers, musicians and artists brought their own flair to an old-fashioned pep rally for their marathon team earlier this month.
In their first two years as an official marathon charity, the B.A.A. has raised over $250,000. If you read the team’s online profiles, every one of the runners does this because they are so passionate about the school.
For more information about the Boston Arts Academy marathon team log on to their website, and click here to help donate and learn more about the student runners.