At Annual 5K, Cresskill Community Honors Zac Garcia’s Memory


Jacqueline Gorfin

A sign outside the Cresskill 5k, inviting participants to be part of #TheZacEffect

Jacqueline Gorfin, Staff Writer

On Sunday, October 20th, Cresskill held its annual 5K for all to participate in. However, this year was different from all that came before. Zac Garcia, a 2015 Cresskill High School graduate and a prominent member of the Cresskill community, passed away last September in a devastating car accident. This year, Monica Madrazo Garcia, Zac’s mother, was the face of the 5K, honoring her son’s memory with the help of the Cresskill community.

The turnout was overwhelming: over 400 people attended to commemorate Zac and his lasting impact on our community. Monica, stunned and overcome with emotion at the support of friends, family, and the local community displaying support for one of its fellow members, credits the great turnout not only to the beautiful fall weather but also to the charismatic residents of Cresskill. 

Runners stretched, hydrated, and pulled on their #ZacEffect t-shirts to kick off a day full of events. Monica gave a heartwarming speech, asking coaches, family, and friends to step forward, demonstrating the massive impact Zac had on all who knew him. Following this, runners lined up, ready to run for a cause. 

Photo provided by the @zacharygarcia_scholarshipfund Instagram Account.
Runners and walkers pose together at the Cresskill 5k.

Alba Shick, a runner, didn’t know Zac personally but is a member of the “community and wanted to be a part of [the 5K].” Amy Cusick, another runner, reflected, “Everybody is coming together for a great cause in the memory of a great kid who left his imprint on a small community and everybody is thankful that they knew him.”

Whether they knew Zac or not, members of the community felt inclined to participate in this memorial. Mr. Burke, the superintendent of the Cresskill school district, “knew Zac as a student, as an athlete, [and knows] the family very well. He was just a special kid and he has the ability to bring everyone together which is what he’s doing again today.”

As the 5K drew to an end, people spoke in reminiscence of their time with Zac. Mitchell Ledven, a friend of Zac and fellow 2015 grad, described Zac as “an awesome friend who was always there for me.” He additionally recalled a favorite memory they shared: “Zac [and I] snuck into a radar movie in Tenafly and it was the funniest thing. We were watching all the adults wanting us to leave. And we were laughing like little girls.”

Zac had the ability to bring everyone together — exactly what he did on Sunday at the 5K.