Local News

Local Students Walking Across State One Lap At A Time

Posted May 10, 2004

— Gym class five days a week is practically unheard of in schools these days.

Students at West Smithfield Elementary have gym class one day a week, but they are not letting that get in the way of being active.

With each lap of the map, West Smithfield Elementary students get one step closer to their goal.

They started walking in January on a mission to walk across North Carolina -- the 543 miles it would take to get from Manteo to Murphy.

Three laps around the makeshift track equals a mile. Each class' progress is mapped out on a bulletin board.

Physical education teacher Angie Creech came up with the idea.

"Just the idea of trying to get them more physically fit, because our children need more physical fitness," she said. "It's good for the children. They can be a success at this. No one can be a failure."

Sue Whitley's fourth-grade class was first across the finish line.

"We come out every day -- every day the weather will let us," Whitley said.

Now the class is on its way back across the state. Some students walk and talk.

"Usually, we get to talk to our friends and stuff, other than just at lunch and recess," student Lauren Shackley said.

Joel Watson likes variety.

"I run, walk, jog and everything," he said.

Along the way, they learn important lessons.

"When you run, you get a whole lot of exercise and it feels so great to lose weight," Joel said.

"They see me in the hall and say, 'Ms. Creech, I walked a mile. Our class did two miles today,'" Creech said.

Creech hopes getting kids off to a healthy start will keep them on the right path.

Creech will continue the walking program when school starts in the fall. She is not sure where on the map they will walk next time, but has plans for students to top their 543-mile goal from this year.


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