On Nov. 10, five Winston-Salem/Forsyth County elementary schools participated in The Big Event, the culmination of Xcel 2 Fitness, a six-week after-school fitness program for boys in grades three through five.
Student teams from Old Town, Piney Grove, Cash, Gibson and North Hills, the host school, took part in challenges that included running in a zigzag pattern between orange cones, slipping under – or climbing over – ropes strung to form a three-dimensional grid, stepping smartly through a series of plastic rings placed on the ground and crawling under netting staked close to the ground.
The Big Event had a festive atmosphere with lots of parents, siblings and other family members around to support the athletes and a performance by the Panther P.E.A.R.L.S. (Peers Establishing Attitudes Reflecting Lifelong Success), a pep squad made up of North Hills fourth- and fifth-grade girls.
Parent Janard Jackson videotaped much of the action, while encouraging his son, an Old Town student.
“I think this is great for the kids – a good way to build camaraderie,” Jackson said about the program, which was established by Stephen Vaughn, an elementary-school physical-education teacher in Union County.
One of the program’s goals is to provide an outlet for boys who might not participate in organized sports.
“I signed up for it to keep in shape while I’m not playing baseball or basketball,” said Dylan Modahl, a fifth-grader at Gibson.
McCray McGee, a fourth-grader at Piney Grove, had similar goals.
“To help my speed and agility for baseball and football,” he replied when asked why he signed on.
There is a similar program for girls called “Girls on the Run,” said Nancy Sutton, the school system’s program manager for physical education and health.
About 20 boys participated at each school. At North Hills, the school’s business partners TW Garner Food Co. and I L Long Construction Co. and individual donors picked up the costs of the program. Business partners and individuals helped out at the other schools as well.
For more information about the program, go to www.xcel2fitness.com.