Promoting Star Power Through GOTR

Promoting Star Power Through GOTR
Girls on the Run (GOTR) just finished its second season during afterschool programming in Covington, and the stories of success, hard work, and fostering community have tripled from the previous season.

What started as one team at the Ninth District Elementary School Viking Zone Community Learning Center (CLC) during the 22/23 academic year, has now expanded to four elementary school teams for the 23/24 year. This success story has truly demonstrated the power of the community at Covington Independent Public Schools, as the GOTR teams have been embraced and supported by so many.

As other schools began to hear about the impact the program had on students at Ninth District, other schools (Glenn O. Swing Elementary, Latonia Elementary, and Sixth District Elementary) had teaching staff step up and attend the nationally accredited training with GOTR so that they could form teams at their schools as well. Coaches from all schools worked together to plan collaborative events, bringing the teams together to build confidence and teamwork. These moments were not only a part of the ten week lessons provided by GOTR, but provided the opportunity for students at the schools to meet each other and share their experiences. The coaches could see a community of support quickly growing between the girls.


As a part of the program, teams run a practice 5K prior to the scheduled race planned by GOTR. This year, the four elementary teams practiced together at the Holmes High School (HHS) track. HHS track coach Jon Hopkins, along with several members of the high school track team went above and beyond to make the GOTR teams feel welcomed. Several high school student athletes met with the girls prior to the practice 5K to lead warm up activities, talk about life on Holmes Campus, and discuss their experiences on the Holmes track team. The elementary girls were awestruck by the older students, and have already been talking about wanting to join the Holmes track team. What was originally facilitated as an opportunity to practice the run, became so much more. This was another experience that led to building lasting relationships, providing support for the students transitioning to Holmes in the upcoming year, and strengthening the Covington community.


With the 5K taking place at Paycor Stadium on May 11, the anticipation and excitement had built to an all-time high. The girls and coaches had put in work all season, and now they had the chance to end with a big celebration. The coaches packed up snacks, water, got the running shoes out, and all four teams headed to Paycor Stadium for what could be described as the most fun and engaging race of all time.

The starting lines resembled a party more than pre-game warm-up area: a D.J. playing music, teams dancing and singing with joy, face painting and tutus galore, and teams from all over the Greater Cincinnati area.

Perhaps the most meaningful moments were the times the girls stopped to take in the environment. Many of the students expressed that they had never been over the bridge, or to Cincinnati, and stopped at every chance they could to take pictures of the buildings and ask questions about the views. As a group of students was escorted to the bathroom inside Paycor Stadium prior to the race, they caught a glimpse of the football field. It was at this moment that they realized where they were, and one of the girls gasped with excitement asking, “Is this where Joe Burrow lives?”

This was both a team and individual effort, with successes felt by every girl, as well as their crowd of supporters. As they ran the race route, there was staff from every school along the way with signs cheering on the teams. Along with staff, family, and friends, the girls were thrilled to hear strangers and people they had never met encouraging them and cheering them on along the way.


The week following the race, the teams took time with their coaches to reflect on the race and the season as a whole. The teams celebrated their accomplishments, wrote thank-you notes to those who supported their journey, and took time to write journal entries with the prompt At Girls on the Run, I learned….

Below are a few of the responses from student participants:

At Girls on the Run, I learned…

“…to not make people’s star power drowned and not to push people away, and to not get angry at people and to not let it out on people.” –Bethany, grade 5

“…to light other girls star power even if they hurt my star power. Star power is your feelings and your opinion.” –Kaylee, grade 4

“…to never give up and keep trying. And Star power. I will always help people even if I do not like them.” –Brooke, grade 4

“…teamwork is a very special power!” –Symaya, grade 5

Supported by Covington Partners, Covington Independent Public Schools, and the Covington Education Foundation, additional schools plan to join GOTR for the 24/25 season.
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