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Lasell Students Help Plan Annual Heartbreak Hill Youth Race

April 12, 2011

When the Boston Marathon rolls around each year, kids in Newton and surrounding towns lace up their sneakers for their own event - the Heartbreak Hill Youth Race. The difference this year is that Lasell students helped plan it.

The youth race takes place on a famous portion of the marathon route on April 17th -- the day before the Boston Marathon. This year, race planning started many months before that.

Eight students from Professor Melissa Van Hyfte's Advanced Special Event Management class focused on the Heartbreak Hill Youth Race as a class project earlier this spring. The students helped plan several children's activities for the race event, including face painting, temporary tattoos, and spray hair dye. They also secured prizes for raffles from local area vendors.

In addition, the students booked the Lasell College Cheerleaders to help warm up the runners and the crowd, helped market the race via Facebook and reached out to members of the community to encourage them to run as well and helped plan the pre-race pasta party.

Lasell students said this "Connect Learning" experience helped them apply what they learned in class to a real-life project.

"Getting an internship or job in event planning is difficult for any student without experience. I am grateful for my experience with the Newton's Heartbreak Hill Youth Race because it has furthered both my knowledge and experience in event planning. I know that this is an experience I will remember for life," said Lasell student Katelyn Powell, who led the group class project.

Lasell students including Powell, Jackie Murphy, Christina Lombardi, Jill DePalma, Christina Hendricks, Sasha Trotter, Meghan Dougherty, Julie Labrecque, and Alex Montenegro will also work jointly with Newton City Hall/Newton Community Pride organization for the 19th annual youth race on the day of the event.

"We are so appreciative of all the efforts of Newton Community Pride in creating and sustaining this important community event for our youngsters, and grateful to the staff and faculty at Lasell College for participating in the planning of this year's road race. Their ideas and energy will help make this event one of the best ever," said Newton Mayor Setti D. Warren.

For more information on the race, visit



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Steven F. Bloom, Ph.D.Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dean of Undergraduate Education; Professor of EnglishSteven F. Bloom's primary scholarly focus is on the life and works of the American dramatist Eugene O'Neill, in particular, O'Neill's dramaturgical use of drinking and alcoholism.  

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