Annual YOX trot supports Cougars in Need

Stephen Kurfess

Students walk through the Conant neighborhood to support the Cougars in Need fund during the YOX trot (Photo courtesy of Stephen Kurfess).

On a crisp Sunday morning, a veteran math teacher leads a pack of 42 people as they trot through the Conant neighborhood, all wearing a light blue YOX t-shirt. The YOX is a character Conant math teacher Stephen Kurfess created to help students remember the formula for slope is Y Over X: YOX. The YOX is a furry, 4-legged animal with a party hat and a smiling face that lives in Busse Woods.

On Oct 30, Kurfess hosted the 10th Annual YOX Trot. Students of Conant High School gathered to walk from the school to McDonald’s on Roselle Rd. Students and Kurfess then had breakfast together at McDonald’s. The 2 mile trot was roughly 30 minutes.

Originally, District 211 hosted its own event to raise money for charity, called the Heart Walk; however, this event was discontinued. Believing strongly in the importance of charity, Kurfess started his own charity walk in 2011, which became the YOX Trot. According to Kurfess and his website, the trot has raised over $6,000 over the past nine trots, and has raised $1,780.98 this year.

The trot raised money for the Cougars in Need, a fund that supports students in Conant who may not have a home or do not have the money to buy food. The Cougars in Need fund was started by the Conant Boosters Club, and the money raised will be used to buy food and gift cards for Cougars in Need. Kurfess also hopes that this trot raises awareness that there are people in the community, even within the school, who need help from others and that people should support each other whenever possible. Ema Tamamura, ‘25, said, “It was a good experience to know more about the Conant society, and I’m glad that I can be part of it.”

The YOX Trot hiked its way back to school around 10 a.m. Asuka Tsuchiya, ‘25, said, “There are so many boys and girls who can’t eat or don’t have a home to go back to. I learned that all donations can be a big help for someone.”

Stephen Kurfess

Stephen Kurfess and his students stop at a local park during the YOX Trot

According to Kurfess, the best part of the annual trot “is really just being with the kids.” He said that likes being around students who are willing to wake up early on a Sunday morning to help others.

According to Kurfess, a bonus of the YOX trot is that the people participating are directly connected to their hometowns. The YOX Trot allowed students to impact the community because they were raising money for their own high school. He hoped students “learned [that] it doesn’t take a lot to give to charity and help people out.”

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