The halls of St. Clement Catholic Elementary School were empty Wednesday afternoon and the yard alongside the school was transformed into an all-afternoon aerobics class and walk-a-thon.
Teachers and students hosted their inaugural “100 Minute Walk-a-thon,” an event put on by the Run for Life organization, for which students have been collecting pledges all throughout the month of April. So far, they have raised more than $2,000 for the school.
The school runs a six-week program every spring called Run Like Lightning, previously called the Kilometer Club, organized by Grade 3 teacher Karen Stewart. The program encourages regularly scheduled running opportunities before, during or after the school day.
Stewart offers a running club during nutrition breaks twice a week, but also encourages and includes all classes in a school-wide running challenge. Classes set goals to see how many kilometres they can collectively run. This is the fourth year that the club has been active at the school, but the first time the students have participated in the walk-a-thon.
Principal Jeff Dinner is very supportive of physical activity programs at St. Clement, and teachers note that he often gets the whole school up from their desks to participate in some sort of physical activity.
“We like to keep the kids active, even on days when they are not in gym class,” explained Dinner. “Sometimes throughout the year when it’s cold out we will do walks through the school and have music playing in the classrooms. The more fun it is for the kids, the more exercise they will get.”
St. Clement is one of 50 schools in Ontario participating in this challenge.