By Jill Fox
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School athletic director Chris Hixon was among the 17 innocent victims who lost their lives in the horrific school shooting on February 14, 2018.
Chris sped towards the gunfire in a golf cart and was gunned down while trying to stop the shooter — and despite his wounds, he stood guard until police arrived.
After the Parkland tragedy, Chris’ family chose to do something positive to remember him while making a difference in the community. His wife, Debra, and sons, Corey, 24, and Tom, 27, chose to start a scholarship fund as a way to encompass who Chris was, raise money, and bring awareness to what happened on that day. They also created the Chris Hixon Memorial 5k as a fun and positive way to raise funds for the scholarship fund and honor his memory.
Now in its second year, all proceeds from the 5k support the Chris Hixon Athletic Scholarship Foundation, which awards scholarships to three students from each of the schools where Chris worked during his 20-plus year career with Broward County Public Schools: Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, South Broward High School in Hollywood and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
To become eligible, the recipients of the $2,500 awards must be scholar-athletes, letter in a sport, have a 3.2 GPA, and complete 250 volunteer hours.
According to Debra, the 2019 5k raised about $25,000 between donors and all of the participants.
“It was pretty awesome,” she said, “My goal was to make enough money, so the interest earned maintains the scholarship fund,” said Debra, who would love to expand the program to include a fourth scholarship in the future.
“Since the whole community participates, I would like to extend a scholarship to another student countywide,” she said.
On Saturday, February 15, the Second Annual Chris Hixon Memorial 5k at Charnow Park, will begin at 7 a.m. Registration for this race or the virtual 5k is $30 and includes a T-shirt. Medals will be provided for all race finishers.
New this year, at 8:30 a.m., will be a fun run for children up to 7 years old, where they will run a short distance of a quarter of a mile and receive a medal.
After the races, there will be a celebration of life, featuring an 80’s band and children’s activities, like games, workshops and face painting.
Debra said, “We were very lucky last year, and this year, we hope to be even more successful.”
Charnow Park is located at 300 Connecticut Street on Hollywood Beach.
- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co. Fox worked at NBC Miami for eight years after graduating from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.
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