By Jessica Albert

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimoreans are counting down to Juneteenth!

The Seed School of Maryland celebrated the federal holiday by hosting a 5K kick-off event on Sunday morning.

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It was the first time the school hosted the event. About 200 runners registered for it.

“This is my first time coming to something that’s bigger than me,” Seed School of Maryland student Danielle Hayes said. “So, I want to do my best.”

The event was part of a fundraiser for the school’s students.

The Seed School of Maryland is the state’s only public, college-preparatory boarding school.

Mayor Brandon Scott attended the kick-off too.

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“When you mix running, one of my greatest things in my life that help me get to where I am today, and celebrating the holiday of Juneteenth together, all for a great cause of providing a world-class education, you cannot get a better match,” Scott said. “So, I had to be here.”

The race also included a one-mile walk for people who didn’t feel like running.

“I’m very excited to be here today and what this race represents and being Juneteenth and its significance to the beginning of true liberation in America,” Seed School of Maryland Fitness, Health, and Wellness expert Christian Varner said.

The goal of the event was to draw a connection between the community today and the meaning of Juneteenth, school administrators said/

“This is somewhat inspirational for our students and, we think, what a great way to promote health and fitness,” Seed School of Maryland Head of School Kirk Sykes said. “What a great way to promote opportunity and academic success and close those gaps for students.”

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The Seed School of Maryland hopes that the success of this year’s event will bring even more people out for next year’s race.

Jessica Albert