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Born to Run Memorial 5K Race Is June 14

Fundraiser for deceased teacher’s two daughters.

An Homage to Jannine Parisi

At Franklin, Jannine Parisi was a hardworking and cherished staff member; to me personally, she was a good friend. She is best known for her beautiful smile and positive attitude that would improve anyone's day. She inspired her students to reach the potential she saw in each of them. She was patient with them; and they, in turn, thought highly of her.

Jannine was also the heart and soul of the P.E. department as the pseudo-mothering figure and mentor to each member. And she loved and treated each member as if they were part of her own family. She was a calming voice, and her humor and laughter made her friends’ and colleagues’ days better. Her warm personality was contagious.

Always happy to help other teachers, Jannine became a prominent and award-winning member of the GMU Teaching advisory council. Her love and passion for her job always inspired her co-workers and provided those new to the profession with a solid foundation to start from.

However, those who worked closest to Jannine recognized that the most important thing in her life was being a mother. She spent countless hours making sure both her girls had the skills to succeed in life, and she was so proud of the young women they had become.

As a co-worker, she inspired her colleagues to develop positive relationships with one another and with their students. As a person, she inspired us all to live our lives with a smile on our face, regardless of what was going on in our lives. She led a dignified and selfless life and will be forever missed, but never forgotten, by her Franklin family.

— Bryan Holland, assistant principal, Franklin Middle School

In November 2013, Franklin Middle School teacher Jannine Parisi, 47, was the victim of a tragedy which left her two teenage daughters without parents. But she’s not been forgotten by those who knew and loved her.

And now, her former school is holding a 5K race in her honor and to raise money for her children’s education. The first annual Born to Run 5K Memorial Race and Fun Run is slated for Saturday, June 14, at the school, 3300 Lees Corner Road in Chantilly.

“Jannine was a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, so we named the race after his song,” said Assistant Principal Bryan Holland, organizing the event. “And as a P.E. teacher, physical fitness was important to her, and we wanted to do a community-minded event to honor her.”

Parisi taught at Franklin for eight years and, according to Rob Gibbs, a fellow P.E. teacher there, “She was a well-respected member of our Franklin Middle School family. She was a wonderful teacher, role model and friend to students, staff and our school community.”

“Jannine’s students respected her as a positive influence, given her ability to inspire them and place the concerns of others above her own,” continued Gibbs. “Since November, our school community continues to collectively heal from her loss. We want to make this special event a successful tribute to Jannine and her spirit.”

The 5K starts at 8:30 a.m., followed shortly afterward by the 1K fun run.

Online registration is at www.prraces.com. Registration for the 5K is $35 until June 12, $40 on race day; the 1K is $20 through race day. Potomac River Running is managing the 5K, and runners will be timed via a computer chip in their race bibs.

All proceeds will be donated to an established education fund for Parisi’s daughters. One is a Chantilly High senior and the other is in eighth grade, and both will be at the event. Those unable to participate in the event, but wishing to contribute, may do so at the Website.

“Jannine valued education, and what meant the most to her were her daughters,” said Holland. “So the best way for us to honor her and give back is to help provide an education for them.”

Awards will be given to the fastest overall male and female finishers, the overall male and female staff members from the Chantilly Pyramid and the top male and female finishers in various age categories. Packet pick-up is Friday, June 13, from 3-6 p.m., and Saturday, June 14, from 7-8 a.m., before the event.

Runners will traverse a flat course through the Chantilly Highlands neighborhood, and the race will both start and end at Franklin Middle. The fun includes a raffle for gift certificates from local merchants, and the school PTA and community businesses are providing refreshments afterward for the participants.

“The event will focus on a sense of community and the celebration of life,” said Gibbs. “We are very excited to be honoring our friend in such a fashion.” Anyone who’d like to donate an item to the raffle or volunteer to help on race day should contact Assistant Principal Bryan Holland at bholland@fcps.edu.

“So far, about 250 people have registered to run, so we’re hoping for a good turnout,” he said. “As people found out about the race, they’ve contacted me to ask what they could do, and it’s reassured me how truly caring and compassionate the Chantilly community really is.”