Granada High students, teachers and others spent a sunny Wednesday running to raise money for victims of the recent Southern California wildfires.

The goal of the Livermore school's "Run For Relief 2" was to raise $20,000, said Tony Battilega, the school's physical education chairman. He recently visited the fire area and said "it was just devastating."

Battilega lived in the area for several years, attending University of San Diego and teaching at Rancho Bernardo High in San Diego. He also has family there, including a brother who was evacuated, and said many Granada students also have connections there.

Participants raised money by either walking or running around the school's track. There were multiple one-hour shifts, with physical education students -- about half of the total student body -- taking part during their class time. They were not required to raise money. There were also shifts before school starting at 6 a.m. and after school until 4:30 p.m. More than 1,000 people were expected to participate.

The school held a similar event two years ago, raising about $23,000 for a school district after Hurricane Katrina, Battilega said. Organizers have not decided which organizations will get money from Wednesday's event; the participants must turn in their collected money by Friday.

He said that a month ago he and others were thinking about holding an event like this but were worried there wouldn't be a cause people felt strongly enough to take part.


Then the fires came.

Battilega said runners and others who raised at least $20 Wednesday got a T-shirt with a shoe-shaped helicopter dumping water on the words "Run For Relief 2" in flames. It was designed via an art student competition, with the design being a combination of two submissions.

Eric Louie covers education. Reach him at or 925-847-2123.