The Nicholas Sparks Foundation
In the fall of 2011, The Nicholas Sparks Foundation was founded to support the causes and charities that are personally important to the author. While Nicholas and his wife have donated nearly $10,000,000 to local, regional and national causes - including education, veteran support, Alzheimer’s care and research, childhood disease research and care, and animal rescue organizations - education remains a top priority.
The Foundation is committed to inspiring and transforming students' lives through education, curriculum development, and life changing international experiences, so they are prepared to embrace a life of being active learners and engaged global citizens. Its goals for our future leaders include instilling confidence, introducing foreign languages, and exploring cultural versatility, while offering a global perspective to help them prepare for the 21st century.
For more information about the Nicholas Sparks Foundation, visit NSparksFoundation.org.
The Epiphany School for Global Studies
As their kids all came to be elementary school-aged, Nicholas and his wife began thinking more about the local school options for their kids in New Bern, NC. As New Bern is a small town with limited school options, they decided to build a school for the community themselves. In 2005, they joined with Thomas McLaughlin to facilitate community meetings with town residents about everything they could possibly want for their kids. The consensus was to create a place where students of all different faith backgrounds could learn in a traditional Judeo-Christian environment that would also foster a completely global education. Quickly, a vision began to take shape, and on August 28, 2006, The Epiphany School for Global Studies opened for its first school year.
The Epiphany School for Global Studies is an independent, coeducational, college preparatory school that is rooted in the Christian faith. Founded in 2005, it opened its doors in August 2006 to 95 pioneering students in grades 6-10. Currently, the student body is comprised of motivated students from over ten municipalities in coastal North Carolina. Though our school families have diverse backgrounds and experiences, from physicians, to farmers, to Marines, all are united in sustaining a rigorous learning environment that develops the mind, body and spirit of our students. Epiphany School is a community of faith and scholarship that challenges students to uncover and expand their unique God-given gifts. It sends forth men and women who will wisely devote themselves to lifelong learning, faithful discipleship, courageous leadership and compassionate service throughout their life journeys.
Epiphany is home to a first-rate faculty of passionate scholars who inspire students with teachings from an academic curriculum that many universities consider the finest in the world. Like all schools, Epiphany embraces its responsibility to impart the knowledge and skills that are essential for living. It is a school distinguished by a rigorous and nurturing environment in which students evolve into the best versions of themselves. Epiphany provides a vast array of educational opportunities that challenge young people to embrace their gifts and share them confidently with others, and where students can participate in a full range of co-curricular activities including athletics, music, theater and art. Travel as education is an essential part of the school’s curriculum. By the time every student has graduated, he or she will have visited 26 countries on six continents to study everything in context from history of the Americas amidst Mayan ruins, Ancient Greece at the Parthenon, or ecology and the environment in the rain forests of Costa Rica.
For more information about Epiphany School in New Bern, NC, visit the website at Epiphany-NB.org.
New Bern High School and Track Eastern Carolina
from Runner`s World magazine
Millions know Nicholas Sparks as the best-selling author of books like Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, and The Notebook. But in New Bern, North Carolina, the novelist is better known as benefactor and coach of a track program that has rapidly become one of the nation’s finest.
When Sparks’s eldest son, Miles, began running in seventh grade, Sparks approached Dave Simpson - the coach of New Bern High School and Track Eastern Carolina, a local club team - about Miles joining the track club. Little did Simpson know that the boy’s father would prove to be the best thing that ever happened to track and field in this small rural city.
Within a few months, Sparks, 43, had donated nearly $900,000 toward a state-of-the-art track. Soon after, Sparks - a former 800-meter standout at Notre Dame - signed on as a volunteer assistant coach for the high school team and the club, most of whose runners come from low-income and at-risk families.
"I remember one of our guys running out of gas" at a national meet after the club had been on the road for five days, Sparks says. "I asked him why, and he said he was hungry. I asked him when he’d last eaten. He said, ‘Tuesday.’ That was on a Sunday."
Sparks has done his best to ensure that his athletes would no longer face such obstacles, underwriting all meals on club road trips. He also spends weekday afternoons working with New Bern’s middle-distance runners and hurdlers. And the results have been astonishing: Since Sparks became involved with the team four and a half years ago, New Bern High has won five state championships in indoor and outdoor track. At the 2008 Nike Indoor Nationals, Track Eastern Carolina won both the 4 x 800 and sprint medley relays and captured second in the 4 x 200 and 4 x 400. During Sparks’s tenure, more than 35 of the New Bern and club runners have earned collegiate track scholarships.
"I coach to bring these kids opportunities, to give them the chance to go on to college," says Sparks, who attended Notre Dame on a track scholarship. "Most of these kids are the first ones in their families ever to attend college."
Sparks’s commitment to his charges stretches far beyond the track. "His front door is open to our athletes all the time," Simpson says. The runners eat at his home. Swim in his pool. Play video games with Miles (now a junior and a 54-second 400-meter hurdler) and the other four Sparks children. Last year, Sparks and his wife, Cathy, fed 15 team members Christmas dinner.
Simpson says Sparks has become a "father figure" for numerous others, even after graduation. "The Sparkses are like my other set of parents," says Darryl Reynolds, who ran at New Bern and is now a junior at East Carolina University. "I used to stay at their house. I still talk to Nick at least five times a week."
Sparks sees the sport of track, not himself, as the hero of this real-life drama. "Without track and field, I wouldn’t be where I am today," he says. "It taught me discipline and perseverance and paid my way through college. It changed my life, and I want it to change these kids’ lives, too."
Article on New Bern (Track Eastern) after the 2008 Nike Indoor Nationals
Videos of 2008 races:
New Bern wins the 4 X 800m at the Pepsi Hall of Fame Classic in New York, running the number 1 time in the country. (New Bern in red and black)
New Bern wins the Indoor SMR at the 2008 Nike Indoor Nationals (New Bern is in red and white)
New Bern wins the Outdoor 1600 SMR at the 2008 Nike Outdoor Nationals
New Bern is compared to Muir, one the of greatest high school boys relay teams in history. This is prior to the Nike Indoor National Championships
New Bern puts on an amazing performance at the 2009 Nike Outdoor National Championships
Raleigh News and Observer, reflecting on the amazing 2009 season
2009 Message Board Thread on whether New Bern was the greatest relay team ever (note that the poll was conducted prior to the Nike Outdoor Nationals performance).
Videos of 2009 races:
New Bern breaks the national high school record in the Boys Indoor 4 X 400 (New Bern in black and white)
New Bern runs the U.S. #1 time in the Indoor SMR at the Simplot Games (New Bern in black and gold)
New Bern (Track Eastern) wins the 4 X 200 at the 2009 Nike Indoor National Championships (New Bern in black and gold)
New Bern (Track Eastern) wins the 4 X 400 at the 2009 Nike Indoor National Champsionships (New Bern in black and gold)
New Bern (Track Eastern) wins the Sprint Medley at the 2009 Nike Indoor National Championships (New Bern in black and gold)
New Bern (Track Eastern) wins the 4 X 400 at the 2009 Nike Outdoor National Championships, runs the fastest time in the U.S. that year, and runs the second fastest time in history (New Bern in black and gold)
New Bern (Track Eastern) wins the 4 X 200 at the 2009 Nike Outdoor National Championships, and runs the fastest time in the U.S. that year: (New Bern in black and gold)
New Bern (Track Eastern) wins the 800SMR at the 2009 Nike Outdoor National Championships, runs the fastest time in the U.S. that year, and breaks the U.S. high school boys record (New Bern in black and gold)
New Bern (Track Eastern) wins the 1600SMR at the 2009 Nike Outdoor National Championships. Note that earlier in the season, on March 27th, 2009, New Bern set the high school national record in this event, so the team just ran fast enough to win since they were trying to win four relays at the National Championships, something that had never been done before. (New Bern in black and gold)
New Bern, qualifying in the heats of the 4 X 200m at the 2009 Simplot games. Watch if you want to see something funny.
Interview with Miles Sparks, after the 4 X 400m at the 2009 Nike Outdoor National Championships