While many teenagers were sleeping late this past Sunday morning, a group of J. Taylor Finley Middle School Junior National Honor Society members was up bright and early. The young scholars participated in the 11th annual Jigsaw 4-Mile Run/Walk in East Islip. Proceeds benefitted the E.J. Autism Foundation.
The event drew hundreds of folks of all ages to the East Islip Marina. After checking in and assembling at the starting line the runners/walkers enjoyed the flat and furiously fast race course through scenic local streets before finishing on Great South Bay.
The E.J. Foundation’s mission is to “create autism awareness and to support programs and schools on Long Island that work with children on the autism spectrum,” according to the organization.
The Finley Junior National Honor Society chapter has had a decades-long commitment to charitable causes. The school opened in September 1965 and since then its students have captured every conceivable honor in all academic disciplines as well as the in the arts and athletics and for leadership and community service.
Veteran teacher Amy Hughes serves as the honor society’s faculty advisor. Dozens of high performing students comprise the organization, which maintains exceptional membership standards.
Finley math teacher Matthew Perlongo joined in the fun at the event, which included cheering crowds, entertaining bands, bagpipes and even an Elvis Presley impersonator who sang some of the “King of Rock and Roll’s” most famous hits.
After crossing the finish line, the Finley students were welcomed at the post-race party at Jackson Hall on East Main Street in East Islip and given “one of a kind” race tee-shirts. Local and national sponsors were on hand with snacks and giveaways.
In return for getting out of bed a lot earlier than usual on a Sunday morning, the Finley scholars were filled with the warm feeling a person gets from helping others in need.