Photo courtesy of Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

BIDDEFORD — With pandemic restrictions in place, the administration at St. James School in Biddeford weren’t quite sure what to expect from the 2020 St. James Trot for Catholic Education 5K Run/Walk and Kids’ Fun Run.

Like so many traditional events, for the first time, the school fundraiser was held virtually.

“Participants could walk or run 3.1 miles anywhere they chose from November 7-14,” said Nancy Naimey, principal of St. James. “We believed that was the safest way to get our community moving in support of St. James School.”

Safest and most successful, too, as the “trot” raised a record $18,804 during the week and inspired additional giving later.

“I received a letter from the Good Shepherd Sisters of Quebec who live at St. Joseph Convent in Biddeford,” said Naimey. “They had heard about the ‘trot’ and wanted to join the fun.”

“I was inspired to ask our sisters, ages 78 to 103, to walk the hallways and, for those who could, walk outside to see how much we could raise for the school,” said Sister Annette Nadeau, coordinator at the convent.

Contributions would range from $1 to $3 depending on the length of each walk.

“Once that was added up and combined with donations from sisters who can’t walk, we raised $450 for St. James,” said Sister Annette.

The Good Shepherd Sisters, who have been active in educating area children since the late 19th century, were happy to help the school remain strong and growing.

“Most of the sisters were former teachers. It was a real effort to walk as many of them have walkers or are in wheelchairs. Some of the other sisters and staff pushed the sisters around to make sure they could participate,” said Sister Annette. “This was such a worthy project.”