An inspiring young man at Union Memorial School has taken up the school’s walking challenge in earnest, logging more than fifty miles in his three years as a student.
That is the equivalent of walking from Union Memorial School to Bedford, Quebec or from Union Memorial School to Crown Point, New York!
Picking up where the challenge’s original designer (former Title I tutor John Carter) left off, UMS’s PE teacher Rob Traquair marked off a quarter-mile loop around the playground to facilitate the voluntary walking challenge in which students can choose to participate during their recess. By presenting the students with a plastic foot-shaped charm for each mile they complete, Mr. Traquair encourages the Champs to pursue exercise as a fun and healthy endeavor. Second grader Evan Audette has amassed a jaw-dropping collection of fifty such feet during his tenure at UMS.
Evan, who wants to be an engineer when he grows up, said that he did not have any particular goal in mind when he first began logging his miles three years ago. “I just like to do it,” he said. “I like getting the feet [foot-shaped charms].” In addition to the walking, Evan says that he has also played hockey since he was four. “It helps you stay healthy,” he said.
Principal Chris Antonicci said that one of the appeals of the walking program is that everyone can do it at his or her own pace. It also ties in well with the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan, which emphasizes the importance of wellness in our schools. The program was implemented more than fifteen years ago, and hundreds of students have participated in it since that time—although no one except Evan has logged fifty miles. Evan’s feat is particularly impressive given that the walking program only happens during the spring and fall and only two or three days per week.
UMS students are no strangers to impressive feats in exercise. They helped to shatter a jumping jack world record on October 11, they participated in the first-annual Chilly Champ Run in November, and they and their families numbered more than one hundred for a school-wide family skating event in March.
As we discussed in our September 22 feature, not only are academics now being incorporated into physical education, but aspects of physical education are being incorporated into classroom environments through a concept called action-based learning. Action-based learning involves using physical movement into the classroom to increase retention and enhance knowledge acquisition, and UMS has pioneered it in the district.
For more information about UMS’s walking challenge, please e-mail Rob Traquair (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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