2013 ETS Firecracker 5K a Huge Success for Education at the YWCA Bilingual Nursery School

By Diane Hasili
This year marked the 9th Annual ETS Firecracker 5K Run/Walk raising educational funds for the Bilingual Nursery School Program at the YWCA Princeton. Word has clearly gotten out about the quality of the event and course showing through the number of participants steadily increasing since its inception.
“It is gratifying to see a community of runners come out to support the Bilingual Nursery School, especially with temperatures reaching 90 degrees today and a threat of a thunderstorm,” shared Kari Barrio, Event Chair and Assistant Vice President at Hopewell Valley Community Bank. Despite the uncertain weather, the race started on time.
Brian Hughes, Mercer County Executive, popped the starter’s gun signaling to runners the race was on. Runners took off behind the sleek 911 Carrera lap car provided by Porsche of Princeton as the race wove its way through ETS’ campus. Many sought to break personal records as they left the starting line and some did.
Bryan Kelly, a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and graduate of South Brunswick High School, was the first person to cross the finish line, earning the top spot in the Overall Men’s Division with a time of 16:26.20. Jacob Rist of Princeton was right behind at 16:44.25 as was Jason Simon of Gibbstown at 17:40.65.
Marissa Greco of Princeton won Top Overall Women at 19:30.16, followed by Leigh Carroll of Sherborn, MA, at 21:03.18; and Ziva Petrin of Princeton at 21:03.18.
In Top Masters Finishers Men Division, Tom Keating of Princeton took first at 20:23.87, followed by Patrick Applegate of Matawan at 20:34.94, and Ken Coupe of Pennington at 20:48.47. It was Terry McWilliams of Moorestown who arrived at the finish line first for Top Masters Finishers in the Women’s Division with a time of 21:59:67, followed by Ingrid Ladendorf of Pennington at 22:08.62, and Amanda Norvelle of Hopewell at 22:11.49.
Corporate team leaders included ETS which nailed the top spot, followed by Garminators, Princeton Intervals, TYCO, Bank of Princeton, PKCC, Bracco, Mercadien, BeeFit with Tracy, and NJ Manufacturers. A complete list of individual and team scores and results can be viewed at www.ywcaprinceton.org/5k and at www.compuscore.com.
Participants and their families enjoyed a variety of festivities at the start of the run, including a warm-up stretch, in addition to an awards ceremony and refreshments at the finish. Music from the Sound Choice had people dancing and runners motivated to give it that “extra push” for a strong performance. 
“We are grateful to Kurt Landgraf (ETS President and Chief Executive Officer) for his kindness and support,” cites Judith Hutton, YWCA CEO. She added, “A mass of blue ETS t-shirts donned by more than 150 ETS employees was a sight to behold. It strengthens us and our mission of empowering women and eliminating racism.”
In 1995, the YWCA Princeton opened a bilingual nursery school providing much needed programming for the Spanish-speaking population whose needs were not being served elsewhere. Many of the children do not speak English, when they enroll, but all are kindergarten-ready when they "graduate." It had multi-year support from an anonymous donor spurring a collaboration with the YWCA, Princeton Regional School System, and other local organizations. It is recognized for its numerous achievements in helping children and families be successful both in education and in life.
Although the Bilingual Nursery School focuses on young, immigrant Spanish-speaking children, the YWCA is a large multi-cultural community that attracts people from all over the world. In addition to the school, it offers numerous activities and services including a Breast Cancer Resource Center, aquatics, adult education, martial arts, and more. Last year over $600,000 in scholarships and financial assistance was awarded to children, families, and seniors in need.