The family and friends of the late Neil Shapiro will honor the former Winthrop High School drama teacher by holding the first annual Neil Shapiro 5K Walk/Run on September 18 at 11 a.m. at Deer Island.
Shapiro’s widow, Lorraine Lombardo-Shapiro, and stepchildren Andrena Lombardo Silva and Michael Lombardo are leading the committee’s planning efforts. Other members of the committee are Chrissy Murphy D’Ambrosio, Stephanie Mannetta, Angela Bassiri, Tommy O’Brien, Walter Schlichting, Jen Hazlett, Mary Kate Simpson, and Suzanne Sanford.
The proceeds from the race will benefit the Winthrop High School Drama Club through the Viking Pride Foundation.
Shapiro built up the Winthrop High School Drama Club to the point where it competed in the Boston Globe State Drama Festival and consistently brought home individual and ensemble awards from the event. Shapiro was a dedicated teacher whose enthusiasm for his vocation inspired his students. He also coached basketball in the Winthrop athletic program.
Andrena Lombardo Silva said the family wanted to do something special to mark the tenth anniversary of Shapiro’s death and celebrate his contributions as an educator in the Winthrop community. Shapiro died in 2001 at the age of 48.
“We’ve done other fundraisers in the past that have worked really well and we were thinking of something that we could do – and we figured this would be perfect because Neil was a runner, so this combines one of his passions,” said Lombardo Silva.
She said some of his former drama students are serving on the planning committee. The committee intends to donate proceeds from the race toward a new lighting and sound system at the high school.
“We want to keep Neil Shapiro’s memory live,” said Lombardo Silva. “So many of his students remember him fondly. They hear his name and they ask what can they do to help us. He is so missed in the community that we want to keep his legacy going.”
There is a $25 registration fee for the race, $30 after Sept. 10. The first 200 people to register will receive a free t-shirt.
On Friday, Sept. 17, the night before the race, the committee will host the Neil Shapiro 5K Kickoff at the Winthrop Yacht Club. There will be a pasta dinner. The Somerset band will provide the entertainment. Tickets are $15.
For information about the race and the kickoff dinner, please visit the Web site: www.neilshapiro5k.com