A 2nd grader at Samuel Morey Elementary School in White River Junction completed 24 laps (seven miles) around a quarter-mile track during one week of recess.
The school is one of 24 statewide that will receive $1,000 from the Vermont Department of Health as a School Wellness District Winner. The Health Department recognizes schools that promote at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day outside of physical education classes, and meet other criteria such as having an anti-tobacco policy and healthy food guidelines.
The awards program, given annually in partnership with the Agency of Education, New England Dairy and Food Council, and the Vermont Health Education Initiative was started in 2003 to transform schools and communities into places where healthy lifestyle choices are easy.
Any student at Samuel Morey who either walks or runs a total of eight laps each week is awarded a toe-shaped token that is attached to their shoelace. Participation among the youngest students has been close to 100 percent, according to Principal Gail Keiling.
Matt Acquilano, physical education teacher said, “Little toe tokens on your shoelaces have become a badge of honor.”
The school has also reached out to the neighboring community to promote lifelong sports. Lake Morey Resort, for example, buses students to the golf course each year for instruction from the club pro.
“It is amazing how fast they learn,” said Justin Bonnett, Lake Morey golf professional. “We see kids who have not had a chance to see the golf course and it really is quite special. We have a partnership with the school to promote golf and exercise, and it is heartwarming to see how excited they get. We are hopeful they will take up the game.”
2014 School Award Winners:
District Winners ($1,000)
Northfield Middle and High School
Union Elementary School - Montpelier
Mettawee Community School – West Pawlet
Molly Stark Elementary - Bennington
Jamaica Village School
Burlington High School
Richmond Elementary School
Ferrisburgh Central School
Mary Hogan School ID #4 - Middlebury
Hyde Park Elementary School
Lamoille Union High School/Lamoille Middle School/GMTCC
Coventry Village School
Newport City Elementary School
Barstow Memorial School
Neshobe School - Brandon
Green Mountain Union High School - Chester
State Street School - Montpelier
St. Albans City School
Samuel Morey Elementary – White River Junction
Stockbridge Central School
Westshire Elementary School
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Media Contact: Vermont Department of Health, Communication Office, 802-863-7281