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Hillside Hawk Walk Lives on in Successful 'Run For The Hills'

With Hillside Elementary School closing in June, the popular 'Hillside Hawk Walk / Run' transformed to a new event that raised money Sunday for a Hillside scholarship and Wisconsin Hills Middle School needs.

Though the closing of their school building is imminent, the community is not willing to let go of everything they've built together there.

On May 6, 431 walkers and runners took off at Mitchell Park to keep alive the tradition of the annual Hillside Hawk Walk/Run, this year re-dubbed as Run For the Hills and hosted by .

"It’s bittersweet because we have wonderful memories of doing it for Hillside," said Jenny Schweinert, a parent who organized the event. "But it’s great that we can continue the legacy of the event because so many families will go to the middle school, and we have all these new families that will benefit."

Though the final numbers have not been tallied, Schweinert said she expects the event brought in close to the same amount as last year — about $7,000.

Hillside isn't totally cut out of the fundraising yet. One-third of the money will go to the Hillside Student Scholarship Fund, which will continue to provide one scholarship for a graduating Hillside student every year until the last kindergarten class graduates.

The rest of the funds will go toward new technology for the middle school.

The 5K walk/run is also an opportunity for community bonding. Participants ranged from middle school kids to marathon-practiced alumni and parents.

Corina Canitz was the female winner with a time of 19:19, and Scott Mueller was the male winner, coming in at 16:04.

Schweinert said there were about 70 volunteers helping with the event, and about 100 Brookfield families and businesses who donated money or services.

"The reason this is such a huge success is because we have so many volunteers," Schweinert said. 

In addition to bringing in money for the schools, a group of students and parents this year organized a concession stand fundraisier in honor of Wisconsin Hills eighth grader Emily Oberst, who is battling Ewing's Sarcoma.

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Calling themselves "Team Emily," the group has raised almost $2,000 for the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative, an organization the Oberst family has relied on for information and support. Some of the money came from serving concessions at Run For the Hills, and the rest from their ongoing sale of t-shirts and water bottles.

Emily was also honored as the race-starter and wheeled around the course with help from her friends.

"Team Emily proceeded to push her in the race and surround her with support," Melissa Oberst, Emily's mom, said. "She was all smiles that day."

There will be another fundraiser for the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative at the Melting Pot in July, which is Sarcoma Awareness month.

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