Dressed as his favorite “Star Wars” character, Luke Skywalker, and accompanied by his dad (dressed as Darth Vader, of course), Xander on Monday completed a 5k through the streets of Mount Shasta.

Ever since he can remember, Mount Shasta’s Xander Fugitt has been an avid “Star Wars” fan. In fact, his parents, Jocette and Corby, considered naming him Luciano Skywalker – with plans to call him Luke – so you could say he’s been a fan since before birth.

Xander’s usual celebration of May 4 – a day that commemorates all things “Star Wars” – generally includes a classroom visit from Darth Vader and cupcakes for everyone. But this year, due to COVID-19, the 13 year-old Sisson seventh grader had to get creative.

Dressed as his favorite “Star Wars” character, Luke Skywalker, and accompanied by his dad (dressed as Darth Vader, of course), Xander on Monday completed a 5k through the streets of Mount Shasta.

Xander left his house on Everitt Memorial Highway and headed down Caroline Avenue to run past his homeroom teacher, Dave Schmidt, as well as other friends that live on that street. He ran by Sisson School, where all the staff members who were on site came out with balloons to cheer him on. Sisson music teacher Liz Churchill even followed Xander for awhile on her onewheel skateboard playing “Star Wars” music in his wake.

In the downtown area, people leaned out their car windows to hoot, holler, honk and cheer them on.

“It turned out way better than I thought,” said Jocette of the celebration Tuesday morning.

The run was a good way to incorporate Xander’s love of all things “Star Wars” with his love of running, she said. Due to COVID-19, Xander’s track and field season was canceled, and that’s something he’s been struggling with.

“The run helped me clear my mind,” Xander said. “It felt good and it was cool to see people cheering Luke and Vader on.”

Jocette said she and Corby have always encouraged Xander’s interest in “Star Wars.”

“The stories are about redemption and the power of good over evil,” she explained. “They are something that everyone, including children, can relate to in their own lives ... As a parent, I like to nurture this imagination and childhood as long as I can. I think kids grow up so fast and I will take every advantage I can.”

Beginning the year that Xander was in kindergarten, on May 4, Xander dressed up as a Jedi and carried the force with him to school.

To make the day more special, the Fugitts find a friend each year to dress up as Darth Vader and visit Xander’s classroom. They also provide cupcakes and treats for Xander and his friends to enjoy.

“A couple of years I had some pretty famous Darth Vaders,” Jocette said, including beloved school counselor Jeremy Tacbas and Sisson teacher Spencer Adkisson. “Xander’s classmates would go wild,” she said.

In 2019, May 4 fell on a weekend, so the Fugitts were unable to carry on the tradition at school.

“So this year was going to be big,” Jocette said. When the school announced distance learning would be implemented because of COVID-19, Xander said he was okay with it until he realized he wasn’t going to be able to run track, and that his big May 4 celebration would look a lot different.

“Like everyone else, our lives and plans have been put on hold,” said Jocette. “We had spring break plans to go to Disneyland, which had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.”

Instead of the customary school celebration, Jocette found a virtual “Star Wars”-inspired 5k race for Xander to complete in his hometown. She also surprised him Monday morning with life size cutouts of Chewbacca and Darth Vader, which the family placed outside their home for friends and community members to take photos with.

“We know that this is a difficult time for everyone,” said Jocette. “‘Star Wars’ is something that brings us a lot of joy, and hopefully it brought some joy to our friends and neighbors.”

Reporter Kelsey Shelton contributed to this story.