Some jogged and some walked and some even brought basketballs to bounce while completing laps on the track at Thomas E. Weightman Middle School on December 17th. No, it wasn’t during PE class but all in an effort to raise money for their 8th grade class trip to go to Universal Studios. This physical activity based fundraising event was organized by Getta O’Neill and Cinnie Hernandez, 8th grade math and language arts teachers, respectively. They wanted to organize a wellness type of event and figured there would be no better way to prepare the students for all the walking they would do at Universal Studios.
Ms. O’Neill and Ms. Hernandez enlisted the help of Coach Nipps, a PE teacher who has advocated a culture of wellness at the school, to put the plan into action. All of the school’s 8th graders were asked to bring in a donation of $10, which would go to offset the transportation costs of the trip and to walk for the duration of the walk-a-thon, which was held for just over an hour. Emma Turgeon, who had recently moved to Florida from up North, welcomed the opportunity to be outside in the warm weather. “I wouldn’t be outside if I were still in Michigan, so this is fun for me and I get to hang out with my friends.” The chance to be out of class was exciting for most of the 8th graders, as Xavier Hansan enthusiastically put it, “We need a break and we need to move!”
As they completed laps, each student was offered a jingle bell threaded through a string of yarn that many students wore around their neck during the walk-creating somewhat of a jolly tune. Making strides on her fourth lap, Francis Connolly remarked, “This is a good fundraiser-it’s fun and based on walking and exercising is good for you and is a part of being healthy.” Nutrition too is a part of being healthy which is addressed by the Smart Snacks in School rule that took effect this school year. It has set in place nutrition standards as it concerns any food items sold to students while the school day is in. So here is to TEWMS in being both healthy and smart in their fundraising efforts!
For more on the Smart Snacks in School rule visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/healthierschoolday/tools-schools-focusing-smart-snacks
Guest Blogger: Raneitra Grover, MPH, Team Nutrition Coordinator, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services