Nearly a year after Principal Kathy Hwang's death, her school in Ashburn, Va. came together to honor her legacy -- by raising money to grow a program that encourages young children to read to their principals.
The Making a Difference 5K walk/run brought together anyone who was inspired by Hwang's love of learning and of children, organizers said, including current and former students, local families and her colleagues at Sanders Corner Elementary School.
"Knowing that she touched this many people in her short time here ... has made this year infinitely easier for us," said Hwang's daughter, Jennifer Nance, at the event.
Visibly emotional, Nance thanked organizers for helping to find a way to honor her mom.
"We were very overwhelmed this year and not sure how we could best do something in my mom's memory, and you guys made that happen," Nance said. "We thank you, very much."
Hwang, who had been principal at Sanders Corner since 2005, was fatally struck by a car while crossing the street in November 2012.
Funds raised at the event will help to spread a program that began at Sanders Corner Elementary. The money will found the "I Read to the Principal" program at Rolling Ridge Elementary.
In the program, every student, from kindergarten to fifth grade, gets the opportunity to go to the principal’s office to read a book. Afterward, the students get a button announcing they "Read to the Principal."
"I cannot think of a more meaningful way to honor the legacy of Kathy Hwang, who touched the lives of thousands of students, parents, and teachers," said Sanders Corner assistant principal Beth Cipriano. "The tremendous support we have received for this event is a testament to the impact that Kathy had, and we look forward to continuing her important work in her memory."