Lauren King, a senior at Cienega High School, wanted to make a difference. As it turns out, she might be doing much more.
King, the president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter, organized to have roughly 30 fellow NHS members volunteer at the starting line of El Tour de Tucson’s 81-mile race. The Nov. 23 race is the largest participatory sporting event in Southern Arizona.
El Tour spokeswoman Marilyn Hall said the race, which is expected to draw about 9,000 cyclists, has never before had such an enthusiastic group of students offer to help.
“We don’t need that many people, but it’s going to make everyone feel so good,” Hall said. “They’re basically going to act like ambassadors.”
The Star spoke with King, 18, to find out what she is expecting on race day:
WHY EL Tour
King knows that the Vail community is active in cycling and will have several riders in the event. She got the idea to volunteer when she was shadowing Hall for a school assignment.
“I really loved the idea and how much money they’re raising and I wanted to be a part of it and help raise money for it,” King said. “I’m just honored that we get to be a part of it and help out.”
Roughly 800 cyclists will be starting the 81-mile race from Pima College’s East Campus, so it will be up to the group to keep the environment lively and help out with anything in need.
WHO IS INVOLVED
The group is made up mostly of juniors and seniors from Cienega, but they won’t be the only representatives from the Vail School District.
Assistant superintendent John Carruth, a Tucson native, will be riding in the 81-mile event. He has ridden in El Tour before and is excited to have Vail students helping out in what he calls “an iconic community event.”
“High school kids are more thought of as takers — not givers — but that perception is not true and this is a very wonderful demonstration of that,” Carruth said. “I certainly think it’s a shining example and a marquee event of what all of us can do.”
WHAT THEY EXPECT
King is hoping the Cienega contingent can make a difference — and start a trend.
Even though she won’t be in high school next year — she’s likely headed to the UA — King hopes this becomes an annual tradition for the school’s NHS chapter.
“We’re just going out there to help everyone we can and not just going to say that we’re going but to actually help out and try to make a difference,” King said.