2017-11-09 / News

Walk held in memory of TA grad

By Grant McPherson
Staff Writer

Christopher Walker Christopher Walker SACO – A Thornton Academy graduate will be honored with a race and scholarship in his name thanks to two fellow classmates.

The second annual Christopher Walker Memorial 5K and 1.5-mile walk will be held 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 12 at Thornton Academy’s Hill Stadium. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and costs $15 or $5 for students. Donations are welcome and all proceeds go to a scholarship in Walker’s name.

Josh Wynne and Anthony Scenna were both friends and fellow members of the class of 2012 at Thornton Academy with Walker. They held the first race in his honor in November 2016 after Walker took his own life. While a GoFundMe page was created to help cover most of Walker’s funeral expenses, the 5K raised $1,900 to help reach the family’s goal.

“Chris and I were very close in high school,” Scenna said. “We recently reconnected before his passing. His family has been like family. Anything I could do to help them ease the pain, ease the burden, it felt like I needed to do that for them. I’m hoping that this run can become an annual thing. I feel like a good way to honor him is to give all the money to a scholarship.”

Scenna and Wynne have both spoken with Mary Ann Martin, a guidance department member at Thornton Academy, to help establish the scholarship. It is intended for a Thornton Academy senior who plans to study math in college and participate in athletics, two of Walker’s passions. Scenna and Wynne hope to have it established by December.

“(Chris) loved math,” Scenna said. “I cannot stress that enough. He would do math for fun. One time we were hanging out playing a board game. I rolled two die, both sixes or something, rolled it again and the same numbers came up. I said, ‘What are the odds of that happening.’ He calculated the odds of that happening.”

Wynne and Walker were co-captains of the track team together their senior year. The two were part of a 4x400 meter relay at Thornton Academy for a championship meet.

“Every team from York County was there and we won,” Wynne said. “That was really cool. Chris was the anchor of our race. We went on to run that relay again at the southwestern meet and again at states.”

Wynne and Walker met in math class freshman year after Walker offered to help Wynne with the material.

“He was super helpful,” Wynne said. “He went out of his way to do anything for you. I could always depend on him. We could have a conversation about anything.”

Scenna and Walker became close after a sophomore English class when they developed a secret handshake. The handshake grew more elaborate each day they spent together.

“Ask anybody around school, any of our friends, they saw how incredibly intricate it was,” Scenna said. “It was our thing. Shortly thereafter other friends wanted to know how to do the handshake. We taught it to a few other friends and it became a track thing.”

While the race is meant as a fundraiser, Scenna said the point of the race is to remember Chris and meet new people who he also impacted.

“The fact that Chris is gone and I can still meet people he touched is incredible,” Scenna said. “I met so many people last year I didn’t know. Last year was about helping his family raise money for the funeral because it was so sudden and I’m glad we achieved that goal. This year is to honor Chris’ life and hopefully help his students even in his passing.”

Walker’s parents, Lou and Dina, attended last year’s race and plan to attend this year as well. Lou Walker said the one year anniversary of Chris’ death is painful, but he’s grateful for the work Scenna and Wynne have done.

“(The race) was right after his funeral and a lot of people were there, it was incredible,” Lou said. “It’s mind boggling. It shows you how much he was loved by everybody. I wish I could have the words to describe it.”

“To have my son be part of (Thornton Academy’s) teaching team as a substitute, I’m really forever grateful,” Dina said. “They treated him like an adult and respected him. I cannot tell you how many teachers came to give stories and thank me for allowing my son to be part of their team.”

“He was always here to help everyone,” Lou said. “That was our Christopher.”

Contact staff writer Grant McPherson at news@inthecourier.com

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