CSU teacher and ultra-marathoner running for her son

Melissa Raquet-Schofield, a teacher in the Department of Anthropology, runs near Horsetooth Reservoir with her son, Will.

Melissa Raguet-Schofield knows how to deal with challenges.

Raguet-Schofield, a faculty member in CSU’s Department of Anthropology, is a passionate runner who long ago conquered the 26-mile torture test of marathons. She has run more than a dozen ultra-marathons, including a 24-hour race in Phoenix during which she completed 100 miles.

“I’ve always loved running but I’m not fast,” Raguet-Schofield said. “What I discovered is that I can run for a really long time without stopping. I think you have to be a little crazy to run long distances, but for me it has become like a meditation. I love it because all you have to think about is putting one foot in front of the other. That gives you time to think about other things.”

While Raguet-Schofield has successfully negotiated long runs with little problem, she was stumped when her young son, William, seemed to be struggling. He didn’t walk until 18 months, he didn’t start talking until he was 2, and learning seemed very difficult.

Looking for answers

Adding to her frustration was the reaction of teachers, who told her Williams was simply a slow learner.

“School was extremely difficult for him and very discouraging for us,” she said of her husband, Rod. “William was so brilliant in so many other ways with his ability to solve problems. He just couldn’t make sense of words and letters.”

Raguet-Schofield was determined to teach her son to read, and spent many long nights during first grade reading books with him. Finally, William described his difficulties to his mom.

“I can see the letters but I can’t put them together in the right order in my head,” he said.

Finding solutions

Raguet-Schofield then knew the problem: Her son was dyslexic.

Running is an outlet for the entire Raguet-Schofield family.

She enrolled her son at the Children’s Speech and Reading Center, a Fort Collins non-profit that helps kids with speech/language challenges reach their potential. The improvement William has made has been striking.

Prior to enrollment, William – now almost 8 and entering the third grade – could not read at a pre-school level. In less than a year he is almost at grade level.

“William was labelled a ‘non-reader,’ so the difference is night and day,” Raguet-Schofield said. “Not only have his reading skills improved, it has really boosted his self-esteem.”

43 miles for awareness, support

Raguet-Schofield is so impressed with Children’s Speech and Reading Center she decided to lend a helping hand in the best way she knows: by running. She’s planning a 43-mile run along the Colorado Trail later this month, and has set up a Go Fund Me Page. All proceeds go the Children’s Speech and Reading Center.

“I wanted to do something to bring awareness to dyslexia and to the great work being done at the center,” she said. “I wanted to get more involved, and this project has given me the chance to connect with the center even more.”