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Queens Chronicle

Celebrating life of Karina Vetrano

3rd annual Walk for Karina raises money for Molloy scholarship

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 10:30 am

Archbishop Molloy High School has been sponsoring a Walk for Karina fundraiser for three years now — but this one will be different.

Proceeds from the walk go to a scholarship fund for an entering female freshman at the prestigious Catholic school.

The walk is set for June 22, the day after classes end.

But this year, the tone of the event will go from “a somber time to a celebration of her life,” said Matt Rizzotti, the school’s director of alumni development who organized the walk.

He is also a classmate of Karina Vetrano, the Howard Beach speech therapist who was slain while jogging near her home in 2016, from Molloy’s graduating class of 2004.

“This event will always be a memorial to her. But we think it is time to move to a new phase,” said Rizzotti.

The Walk for Karina, started in 2017, has drawn hundreds of participants each year who walk the track at the school to raise money for a scholarship in her name.

The first two walks raised $175,000 for the scholarship fund, according to Rizzotti.

The first recipient of the scholarship will be entering her junior year this fall.

This year, “our goal is to start a second scholarship. That way we will always have a student at Molloy” who is being aided by the endowment, said Rizzotti.

Criteria for winning the scholarship includes a display of “strong writing skills,” said Rizzotti, like Vetrano, whose extensive, intimate blog is still online.

Phil Vetrano, father of Karina, said he and his family are among the sponsors of the walk and they again will attend.

Over the last three years, the walk has evolved from a 24-hour walkathon — similar to the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fundraisers — into a family-oriented event with activities for kids and even nonwalkers.

This year’s walk starts with a Mass at 9 a.m. in the theater of the school at Main Street and Queens Boulevard in Briarwood.

At 10 a.m., the walk kicks off on the school’s track.

“Because Karina was a runner, we want to build the event around a 5K race,” said Rizzotti.

The race starts at 10:30 a.m.

A race for kids is scheduled for 11 a.m.

For those less inclined to get around the track, a yoga session on the infield begins at 11:30 a.m.

Closing ceremonies are set for 2 p.m.

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