It’s a program meant to build uprightness in both body and soul.
Alhambra students are again “Crusin’ with Character.”
The kickoff for this adventure, now in its fifth year, was held Feb. 2.
The “cruisin’ ” part consists of students running and/or walking 13.1 miles total within 13 weeks. It’s accomplished during two 15-minute recesses over a three-month period. Teachers Tami Duft and Diane Paul have been running with the students during this time. If students are absent and need to make-up a run, the principal, Cindy Tolbert, runs with them.
Then, there’s the “character” segment.
“All the classes visit the local nursing home throughout the spring by either singing, reading poetry, making door decorations, or performing reader’s theater,” said Paul.
A second service project has been collecting pennies for Leaps of Love, a local charity dedicated to supporting families and children with childhood brain tumors and late affects of childhood cancer. The collection runs through April 30.
“Our goal is to collect $300 this year,” Paul said.
Also, student representatives from each classroom were selected, as part of the program, based upon their attendance, academics, and character/leadership. Students chosen were: kindergarten, Trey Kronk and Titus Jefferson; first grade, Reid Burrows and Brandt Mansholt and Tyler Hunsche; second grade Nathan Aranowski; and third-grade, Isaiah Jump and Kenzie Ingram. These students’ responsibilities include leading their class to training sessions, leading students in stretches before running, helping teachers with service projects, leading students in the school cheer, and role modeling positive behavior.
In another part of the “character” portion, Tolbert presented 12 weeks of a school-wide media program designed to reduce exposure to media violence. The program emphasized positive uses of technology, with activities aligned to reading, writing, math, science, and technology standards. Tolbert had the students “Take the Challenge,” turning off screens and doing other activities for five days. Kronk’s first-graders won the challenge this year and were rewarded with a trophy and the privilege of styling Tolbert’s hair.
In addition, students are rewarded with paper athletic shoes if they have been “caught” showing the nine good character characteristics. These shoes are jogging around the walls of the gym with a student’s name labeled on each one. The students are waiting in anticipation as they watch to see how far these shoes can “jog” around the walls.
The grand finale of the program — the 13th week — will include the final 13th mile to run/walk. From 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 5 (rain date of May, 12), students will trek around the running/walking track near Alhambra Township Park. Lulu the Leopard (school mascot), even plans to attend to cheer the kids on. Organizers hope to have family and community members come out to cheer on the students. There will also be music to motivate and healthy snacks and water afterward.
“We would love to have you attend,” said Paul. “Bring signs to support your favorite little runner.”
Funding for the Crusin’ with Character is supported by Alhambra’s after-school camps (soccer, skating, art, culinary, etc.), which are instructed by school staff.
What Crusin’ with Character Program means for the kids
▪ Service to others in need (nursing home visits, Leaps of Love penny collection)
▪ Courage to start
▪ Displaying good character
▪ Pride for reaching a difficult goal
▪ Strength to finish
▪ Healthy choices for nutritional and physical health
▪ Individual sport in which you compete with yourself
▪ Healthy fruit snack, donated by Schuette’s Market
▪ Mini-marathon T-shirt for participating
▪ Mini-marathon medal when they complete the final mile