Thursday, January 29, 2009

What a Great Idea

All I know is this school is in Lansing, MI.

Mason Students Exercise at Lunch

MASON - Ten-year-old Garrett Maher and two of his fourth-grade classmates have each run nearly 40 miles this school year - all during their lunch periods.
They hold North Aurelius Elementary School's record so far for the Noon Walking Club - a regular midday exercise event put together by the Mason school's Parent-Teacher Organization.
"It's just a pretty big goal that we've accomplished. It feels good to be the best in the school," Garrett said today before starting his workout.
When the weather's nice, first- through fifth-graders may spend their 20-minute recess walking or running on a quarter-mile playground path, Principal Gina Stanley said. During the winter, kids instead do indoor aerobics.
"We're always encouraging our students to get more physically active, and this kind of gave them a goal to work toward," she said.
Parent and grandparent volunteers supervise the exercises and chart each child's progress through foot-shaped punch cards.
Grandparent Tami Richards led about 20 kids in an aerobics routine today. With pop songs such as "The Shape of My Heart" playing in the background, students ran in place, pumped their arms into the air, did jumping jacks and even marched around the room a few times.
"They needed something here to get the kids moving outside. In the afternoon, their attention span's a lot better. Otherwise, they're off the wall," said Richards, 57, who spearheaded the program. "So many kids just go home from school and sit and play with their Nintendos, and they just don't get out."
Garrett and his friends, Wes Bird, 9, and Seth Bunting, 9, always try to stick together and run at the same pace. Wes said he's always liked running and eventually wants to join the high school track team.
"Before this started, I wasn't running quite as much," Wes said. "I think it got me in better shape. It helps a lot."
After finishing their first five miles, each student gets a dog tag-like necklace engraved with his or her name, Stanley said. Every five miles after that, they receive foot-shaped charms to add to their necklaces.
When they reach milestones, students get to sign their names on hallway posters. As of Dec. 12, the kids had walked 965 miles combined. About 200 of the school's 300 students participate, Stanley said.

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