Three hundred plus pairs of moving feet filled the circular driveway in front of Strawtown Elementary School Friday afternoon. Students, teachers, parents and siblings joined the school’s first ever "March Forward" activity.
Walking, running and jogging students from kindergarten through fifth grade, some holding hands, happily went around the colorfully coned off area for 20 minutes. Physical Education Teacher John Fitzgerald and Strawtown’s Health and Safety Team organized the activity. Fitzgerald said the students were looking forward to. Planning for the day included students bringing healthy snacks and wearing athletic clothing and sneakers.
“Our objective is not how fast you go but how long you go,” he told the different grades as they entered the circle to start their laps.
Several fifth graders explained how they enjoyed the activity.
“It was a good way to get out and get active with 20 minutes of exercise,” said Dylan Hausner, 10 years old. “I was running until I got tired and then started to walk.”
Hausner said he went around the loop four or five times before stopping to talk about March Forward and when he finished, he ran back to join his classmates.
“I think that it is a fun motivation,” said Miranda Price. “Kids are having a lot of fun walking with their friends and teachers. I was tired before but now I had a chance to catch my breath, I’m not tired.”
The 11-year-old said she had made five trips on the course at the school in West Nyack.
“I ran around a couple of laps and walked the rest of them with my friends,” she said.
Not just the students enjoyed themselves.
“Mr. ‘Fitz’, this is wonderful,” said Third Grade Teacher John Bennett. “This is the best thing ever.”
The Rockland County School Health and Wellness Coalition sponsored March Forward, Rockland’s first school-based physical activity awareness day on March 22. The event’s goals were to raise awareness about the importance of physical activity for health and learning and to get students and teachers physically active throughout the school day.
Fitzgerald said in prior years, the school held another physical activity program in May designed to get the children moving. It was called “Project Aces” or All Children Exercise Simultaneously.
When the 20 minutes ended, Bennett said to the students, “ Thank you all for such a lovely walk. It was a pleasure.”