Thomas Jefferson Elementary School (TJE) celebrated their achievement of becoming a fit school this past Wednesday. Over the course of the 2017-18 school year, the students at TJE have each walked 26.2 miles, the length of a marathon. Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas attended the event as a show of support for TJE’s accomplishment.
“There’s been major studies done on how getting kids active helps their brain development and thought process,” shared TJE principal David Muniz. “I’m able to support this initiative by simply supporting my teachers, staff, and parents. They come to me with good ideas and I just work with them to help make it happen.”
The school had originally done a Walk-A-Thon once a year, but due to the current construction, parents and teachers decided to change things up. Our own Jenny Craig-Brown visited the school back in September to help them kick off the event and get moving!
“Every recess we go outside, and we walk at least one lap around the track,” kindergarten teacher Shannon Gonzalez said. “The kids love this part of the day because they just have so much energy.”
As the students celebrated reaching their milestone, they took turns at rotating exercising stations based on grade level. They were able to see how long they could hula hoop, try out some yoga techniques, run or walk a lap around the track, jump rope with their friends, and participate in fast-paced calisthenics.
Students could cool off with a snow cone from Kona Ice as they sat and chatted with friends and teachers. This break gave them a chance to recover before they competed in the grade v. grade ultimate tug-of-war competition.
“A lot of our kids don’t have the opportunity to get outside and exercise because a lot of them live in apartments,” shared kindergarten aide Susana Surkein. “It’s fun for them to do this because they get to be with their friends.”