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Liberty’s fun run promotes health, raises funds for books, computers

May 31, 2017 04:18PM ● Published by Julie Slama

Liberty students run together to promote fitness as well as generate funds for new books and computers. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama  |  Julie@mycityjournals.com
 
Victoria Trujillo said her first-grade daughter, Bailey, had set out her shoes in preparation for Liberty’s Leopards on the Run fundraiser.
 
“She is very athletic so she was looking forward to running,” Trujillo said. “I love that she gets to run through the community and the kids are active.  I love that people in our community are willing to sponsor them and come out to support them.”
 
The fun run fundraiser May 5 offered all 390 students in the school a chance to run or walk one mile through the neighborhood, joined by faculty and families, with streets dotted with community members cheering them on.
 
Parent Niki Mabey, who has coordinated the run for years, said that students look forward to the run.
 
“The kids get excited to run,” she said. “We want them to lead healthier lives and get fit.”
 
Marsha Hughes was there to cheer on her second-grade grandson, Ashton, who trained for the run with his dad.
 
“I like how this is getting the kids back outdoors,” she said. “They’re learning to converse with people, follow directions and are just having fun.”
 
Mabey said that students, like Ashton, are motivated to practice to get to be better.
 
“Many of the classes do the Murray Mile around the field at recess and some students just do it on their own. It’s just for fun and we want everyone to participate, but some students are competitive, so they prepare on their own and want to win,” she said, adding that the school awards medals for top finishers in each grade.
 
Fourth-grade teacher Mike Okumura, who joined his students on the run, said his class ran at least two laps of the field about eight different days leading up to the fun run.
 
Parent Chris Meyers, who ran parts of the run with his three children as well as cheered them on, said his kids practiced the Murray Mile daily.
 
“We look it as a challenge, to see where they’re at and how they’re able to endure the run,” he said. “They also were able to get some donations for the school. Word of mouth by kids is very powerful.”
 
The donated funds are earmarked for classroom novels to integrate into students’ social sciences and English language arts learning.
 
“We need an overhaul of our texts,” Principal Jill Burnside said. “We have some really old books.”
 
With the goal of $12,000, Burnside also is hoping to put funds toward Chromebooks and computer lab tables.  The dream is to have Chromebooks in each classroom, she said.
 
Okumura said that would be welcome since the current school computers in the lab are too old and slow.
 
“We’d go there every day, but half of the time I’d spend helping students log in and troubleshoot,” he said. “Then when we finally got logged in, they were so slow that we barely got any time to do anything before our lab time was over. So, our students are really excited that funds will go toward new books and computers.”
 
Sixth-grader Ember Steele said students also could get tickets toward prizes for additional laps around the school field they ran after running the neighborhood. Top classes also were eligible for prizes, such as a Chick-fil-A party.
 
But she said it’s more than just prizes.
 
“This is something the whole school gets involved in,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re first or last, it’s just something we can enjoy as a family.”
 
The run, along with the barbecue afterward, is something sixth-grade teacher Shalice Benedum said unites the school.
 
“This promotes unity and physical activity,” she said. “Our sixth-graders do buddy activities with kindergartners and today, they were running together. We do this all together and that really helps to create our school community.”
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