By Tara Figurski
Stiles Elementary School teacher Dion Peachey hoped starting a school running club would help students focus in the classroom.
Peachey has taught at Stiles Elementary for five years, where he noticed students struggling to concentrate.
“This one student, even one-on-one, was bouncing out of his chair and all over the place,” he said. “I was trying to help him focus on a book he was reading. I was thinking, this kid needs an outlet for his energy.”
This inspired Peachey to start a running club. Running was easier than other sports because all students needed were running shoes, he said.
The Parent Teacher Association approved the idea and lined up volunteers to help staff the club. There are 94 students participating in the program, according to Peachey.
School staff was surprised at the number of students who signed up, because there is no transportation available after school. Students were charged a $15 participation fee to fund the club.
Principal Jessical Cahill said boys and girls from all grade levels are active in the club. The school also acquired Verizon Wireless as a business sponsor.
Verizon sponsors helped some kids pay their registration fee, provided T-shirts and tennis shoes for children in need, according to Cahill.
The running club meets twice a week through Nov. 7. Along with running and walking, students play games including “red light-green light,” short relay and “sharks and minnows.”
Peachey said the school will host a “Family maraFUN Run” at 10 a.m. on Nov. 9, which consists of a 2.62-mile race. Families are invited to particpate with their children.
“They are so excited,” Cahill said. “Our teachers did some commercials and played them on the morning announcements. They got excited.”
Cahill said it is fun to see some students have natural abilities.
“If a child can run, they can get more involved and look for other ways to improve their natural ability,” she said. “This is really to learn about healthy habits and having fun while staying active.”