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FMHS senior organizes race to benefit local and national refugees

Caroline Tangoren, a senior at F-M, is organizing the Global Community 5k to benefit Oxfam International and Catholic Charities of Onondaga County. The race will be held on Oct. 27 at Long Branch Park.

Caroline Tangoren, a senior at F-M, is organizing the Global Community 5k to benefit Oxfam International and Catholic Charities of Onondaga County. The race will be held on Oct. 27 at Long Branch Park. Allie Wenner

— Ever since she was in third grade, Caroline Tangoren has been interested in human rights. She began volunteering with a family friend at Francis House, a local hospice home in Syracuse, where she would go once a week and talk with the residents.

“I feel like at a young age, that exposed me to a lot of the human suffering that goes on, and it had a large impact on me,” she said.

Tangoren, now in her senior year at Fayetteville-Manlius High School, is, in many ways, your typical high school senior. She’s been involved in Model United Nations since eighth grade and is the fundraising chair and public relations manager for the student council. She plans to apply early action to Yale where she wants to double major in either international relations or public policy and biology. But she’s also almost singlehandedly organizing a 5k race, along with help from Manlius Pebble Hill senior Nika Jonas and the support of her parents. She’s calling the race the Global Community 5k.

“When I first had this idea, my mom said, ‘Caroline, your heart’s in the right place and I know you can do anything you set your mind to, but is the fall of your senior year really the best time to do this?’” Tangoren said. “To me, there are some things that are worth more time than others. And even if I stay up late for three months and don’t get enough sleep, it’s worth it if I know that somewhere around the world, someone’s life, which is in much more dire straits than my own, is better off.”

She said she spends about two hours each day checking emails and communicating with people about the planned 5k race. “It’s the best part of my day,” she said.

Tangoren got the idea for the Global Community 5k one day during the summer while she was running along the trail at Green Lakes State Park. She’d been watching a news report earlier where the reporters were talking about the current status of refugee camps in Lebanon, when a refugee told a reporter that “the only space we have is where we bury our dead.”

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