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Freeport resident uses New Zealand event to raise tuition money for school

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Freeport resident uses New Zealand event to raise tuition money for school

FREEPORT — As a daughter honoring her father's memory, a mother encouraging her child's career, and a community member supporting a local school for girls, Kathy Lowell will participate in a duathlon to raise tuition money for students at Coastal Studies for Girls, which is scheduled to open this fall.

Lowell is also on the board of directors for the Freeport Historical Society and a member of the CSG Capital Campaign Committee.

"There are many connections involved in this project," she said. "All are important aspects of my life."

As a way to honor her father Doug McLure, headmaster of the Princeton Day School, Lowell decided to participate in an all-women's race to raise $16,500 in scholarship money for incoming students at CSG. Her daughter is the coordinator of women's duathlons for Real Exercise, Active Lives (REAL), and Lowell said her daughter encouraged her to participate.

The 5K run and 10K bike ride in Auckland, New Zealand, will take place May 3. Lowell said the race represents a combination of her father's passion for education, her own love of historic preservation, and the opening of CSG in her neighborhood. She has already raised nearly $3,000, and is leaving for New Zealand April 29.

"This benefit embodies aspects of all the things I care about," she said. "I've never done anything like this before."

She said as she started training for the race, her heath improved and she felt more energized. 

"This idea to participate in the race and raise money for the school has been a life changing decision for me in a time when I needed it the most," she said. "It has given me direction, has improved my health and is for a good cause." 

Lowell, 55, said her goal is to raise the cost of a semester's tuition, but hopes the scholarship fund will continue to grow.

Coastal Studies for Girls is the country's first science and leadership semester school for sophomore girls. Classes will include math, English and foreign languages, but will also focus on marine biology and outdoor skills such as rock climbing, sea kayaking and wilderness training.

Although she said she is computer illiterate, Lowell has been recently introduced to online social networking, and has been brainstorming ways to spread her word and raise tuition dollars.

"I'm just learning about Facebook and all its possibilities," she said. "If I can reach a few people and they reach a few more, we could all put in a few dollars for a good cause. People are connected all over the world."

Pam Erickson, executive director of CSG, said an important part of the school's mission is to make the student body as diverse as possible – economically, socially, and ethnically. She said the gift of Lowell's tuition scholarship can help students who may not have been able to participate in the 16-week program.

"It really does take a village, and we have realized this first hand," she said.

Erickson said the renovation process of the 1850's farmhouse has been a learning experience for everyone involved. As the process started, Erickson said the there have been educational workshops on making toolboxes, energy efficiency, and alternative energy sources. In renovating the house, historic newspapers have been found in the walls and original structures such as an old banister have been saved. The farmhouse will house classrooms, dormitories, a kitchen, offices and dining area.

"Since day one we have involved the community in this process," Erickson said. "We see ourselves as students in this process. Like Kathy, we too are taking a risk, a leap of faith, and we are scared, but willing to pursue our growth."

Lowell said she is excited to have found a way to connect all the pieces to help raise money and honor her father. The race successfully ties together her father's passion for education, support for her daughter's career, her love of historical preservation, and her connection to the community.

"I want to help this school succeed, and give a student a chance she might not have had," Lowell said. "The goal is to have people feel as passionately about it as me."

To donate to her cause, visit coastalstudiesforgirls.org and click on Kathy's Challenge.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net