Roseville High School to hold Joe Manfreda Dream Dash May 6

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 2, 2017


ROSEVILLE — The Roseville Community Schools Scholarship Foundation will hold the Joe Manfreda Dream Dash rain or shine at 9 a.m. May 6 at Roseville High School, 17855 Common Road, to raise funds so that the foundation can grant scholarships to graduating RHS students.

The official-timing event will start with registration at 9 a.m., and the race will follow at 10 a.m. The cost for adults participating in the race is $25 in advance and $30 on race day. Individuals ages 18 and younger will pay $15 in advance or $20 on race day.

Roseville Community Schools Director of Special Education Teresa Tomala explained how the race got its name. 

“We started the Dream Dash — this will be our fourth year. We renamed it Joe Manfreda Dream Dash the second year after we lost Joe, who was one of the students at (Roseville High School),” said Tomala.

According to Tomala, Manfreda ran during the Dream Dash’s the first year.

“He originally ran the first year we had the event. He was a student-athlete and on the cross country team and a wrestler. So being a runner, we felt this would be a nice way to honor his memory,” she said.

Shannen Hoffman, Manfreda’s mother, currently is substitute teaching at Eastland Middle School and tells her students about her son and his work ethic. 

“I talk a lot to the kids that I teach about my son and about his passion for running, but mostly I talk about the importance of education and how pursuing your dreams can get you far in life,” said Hoffman.

“He was being recruited by almost any college you can think of, so it’s tragic for me that he will never get to pursue that dream, but it means a lot to me knowing that this race can help other kids to be able to do that,” she said.

Manfreda was a junior at Roseville High School when he died Jan. 6, 2015.

“He had an aortic aneurysm. Basically, it was from a genetic defect that we didn’t know about. It was completely natural causes, but it was also something unexpected,” said Hoffman.

Tomala explained who the funds benefit.

“The money that we collect goes to the Roseville scholarship foundation. Every year, we award $1,000 scholarships to seniors that are pursuing higher education,” she said.

This year, the dash added another race.

“It’s an official-timed event, and this year, we’re having a 5K, and we also added a 1-mile fun run/walk,” said Tomala.

Every year, Manfreda’s family comes to support the event.

“(Manfreda’s) mom and his siblings and extended family, they come out and they participate in the event every year. So it’s really nice that we get to see them every year. It’s really become a community event,” said Tomala.

Hoffman said the race also is a reunion for Manfreda’s classmates.

“All of his friends and classmates have graduated and moved on, but we all get together and they are there at his race, so it’s also a nice reunion for all of them. They were all runners on the cross country team, so it’s nice for them to remember him this way,” said Hoffman. 

To register for the Dream Dash, call (586) 445-5505 or register online at Donations can be mailed to RCSSF-Dream Dash, 18975 Church St., Roseville, MI 48066.