Running in the hallsNorthern Lights Elementary School students were running in the halls Tuesday, right beside their teachers and principal.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Northern Lights Elementary School students were running in the halls Tuesday, right beside their teachers and principal.
The school launched a new running club this week to prepare for the upcoming Polar Bear 5K/1 mile walk/run. A total of 16 students participated in the inaugural run. As they gathered to stretch and cool down, the kids called it “awesome,” “intense,” “exhausting” and “fun.”
“I run all the time,” said Xander Dutkowski, a third grader. “Running is in my blood.”
Were they nervous about jogging through the halls? No, they said.
“It seemed like a special privilege,” said fourth grader Emily Asp.
The club can trace its start directly to the Polar Bear 5K, an annual event to raise money for technology improvements at Superior schools. Each year, it moves to a different school. In 2010, the run raised $4,500 for Bryant Elementary School; in 2011, Great Lakes Elementary School was given $5,000; and last year, Four Corners Elementary School received $7,000. The money is used to purchase ActivBoards and other technology improvements at the schools.
“They enhance our students with the sights and sounds of learning,” said Cody Androsky, a Bryant parent who started the Polar Bear Run in 2010.
Technology, said Great Lakes teacher Shelly Theisen, is used on a daily basis in the classroom and is key to today’s learning.
Along with improving education, the annual event has led to the formation of running clubs at three elementary schools in the district.
Parent Sara Kroeplin launched a running club at Four Corners in February 2011.
“I had kids train specifically for the Polar Bear 5K,” she said. About 50 students joined the after-school club, running one day a week for about six weeks. The students and their parents then took part in the race, which was held at Great Lakes. The huge turnout of Four Corners families prompted Great Lakes teachers to start their own club this year. It’s a positive way to focus on health and fitness and get kids moving, said Great Lakes Principal Cindy Magnuson.
“It’s great to see kids in a different venue,” she said, as they train alongside the teachers. One third grader, Paris Kilgore, has come up with a chant the group sings before and after each running session and they plan to wear matching T-shirts for the upcoming Polar Bear 5K.
“They’re so full of pride,” said Theisen, one of five teachers who lead the Great Lakes Running Club. About 22 students take part in the club. They have worked their way up to running 2 miles along an outdoor trail. Some may walk for a while, Theisen said, but they don’t stop. The club has built school pride and community, she said, and the confidence of the student runners has skyrocketed.
Teachers at Northern Lights started running in the halls after school to prepare for the April event about five weeks ago, said teacher Mary Zastrow. Students who saw them jogging the halls got curious and asked if they could join in. So teachers launched a student running club or their own. The group will meet twice a week until the race, which takes place April 13 at Northern Lights.
Kropelin has turned the focus of the Four Corners Running Club to the NFL PLAY 60 — encouraging students to get active for 60 minutes a day. But she still supports their participation in the Polar Bear 5K.
It helps other schools, she said, and “I think running is a good sport for kids.”
Anyone can join the Polar Bear 5K. Registration is accepted through March 30. More information and registration forms are available at the website http://polarbear5k.com/ or by stopping by Northern Lights, 1201 N. 28th St.