The Highlander

5K marathon in memory of Mike Zook

McLean HS transforms Highlander 5K to a Memorial 5K for former Assistant Principal Mike Zook

Mike+and+Cindy+Zook+and+their+five+grandsons%2C+Brayden%2C+Landon%2C+Reid%2C+Evan+and+Parker.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Cindy+Zook%29
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5K marathon in memory of Mike Zook

Mike and Cindy Zook and their five grandsons, Brayden, Landon, Reid, Evan and Parker. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Zook)

Mike and Cindy Zook and their five grandsons, Brayden, Landon, Reid, Evan and Parker. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Zook)

Mike and Cindy Zook and their five grandsons, Brayden, Landon, Reid, Evan and Parker. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Zook)

Mike and Cindy Zook and their five grandsons, Brayden, Landon, Reid, Evan and Parker. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Zook)

Jane Lee, Reporter

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McLean High School is showing tremendous efforts to prepare for the annual 5K run this year. They’ve already contacted newspapers for advertising, and have coordinated the event with local police. Now, all they have left is to advertise for more participants.

What’s different about this year’s run is that it is specially planned to honor Mike Zook, former Assistant Principal of McLean High School. Zook’s family will be in attendance at the event.

Currently within the school, the event is being advertised through TVs in hallways and the cafeteria. Details of the event are described on the flyer posted on the screen. All elementary schools and middle schools that feed directly into McLean have also been notified of the event, so greater participation is expected this year.

So far, only 33 have signed up and confirmed participation in the event, with 18 of them being students and staff members in the county, and the remainder being their parents and family members.

“Two-hundred and fifty is the goal,” Assistant Director of Student Activities, Tzeitel Barcus said.

The event coordinators for the Zook 5K Run decided to offer any student or staff member of FCPS and surrounding schools a discount. This was to encourage people to enter and create a meaningful yet enjoyable community event. Students, parents, staff members, etc. are all able to participate, and can register up to the day of the event.

During his 26 years as an educator in FCPS, Zook not only worked for McLean High School, but also for Langston Hughes and Robinson.

“He was a big fan of students and he touched everybody so we wanted to make sure that everybody could honor him [by participating in the 5K run],” Barcus said. It made sense to extend the participant pool as much as possible.

To conclude the 5K run, a short speech about Zook will be heard. It will occur after the race during the award ceremony.

Barcus is considering making the Zook 5K Run a yearly contest to honor Zook and the way he formed precious and unique relationships with each student he encountered.

“We did the 5K for the first time last year, and it was just the Highlander 5K. But [we’re going to] keep it a memorial 5K from now on — every year for Mr. Zook,” Barcus said.

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