Elementary school students in Kent excel through running club | slide show

Around 200 Soos Creek Elementary students ran laps around the school Nov. 16, decked out in Husky and Cougar shirts.

Principal Patty Drobny runs with her staff and students

Principal Patty Drobny runs with her staff and students

Around 200 Soos Creek Elementary students ran laps around the school Nov. 16, decked out in Husky and Cougar shirts.

The students were joined by a few alumni, parents and some staff members in Soos Creek Running Club’s Apple Cup Run. The race is a finale for the club, which starts in September.

“I did 15 laps during the run,” said Alyssa Clifton, sixth grade. “I use to run with my mom all the time, so I joined the club for fun, but also to stay healthy and fit with my friends.”

Staff member Stacey Wahlberg started the club in 2008 so students would have a free and healthy activity available to them after school. Club members run twice a week on the school grounds or through the neighborhood, along with any family members or friends wanting to join in.

“We don’t have one goal for the club, we just want the kids to come out, have fun, get healthier and maybe push themselves in running,” Wahlberg said.  Every year the club keeps growing.

We started out with only 45 members and now have 200 students,” Wahlberg said. “We only have 300 kids total at our school, so that amount of students participating is awesome.”

Keen Sable, 6, joined the club this year so she could hang out with friends and teachers.

“I discovered I really like to run because it is fun,” she said. “I especially like to run with the sixth-graders.”

The sixth-graders in the club are responsible for mentoring the younger kids.

“We wanted them to take on a leadership role, so they are responsible for watching out for the little kids,” Wahlberg said.

The sixth-graders lead stretches and warm up sessions and walk and run beside the students in lower grades.

“It’s great because I get to be active and help out the younger kids,” said Mason Glover, sixth grade. “My favorite part of the club is that we are just all out there to have fun and talk to each other.”

Principal Patty Drobny noticed a positive difference in students joining the running club.

“We have students that were usually late or not attending school start to show up every day on time because they don’t want to miss running club,” Drobny said. “This club encourages better behavior from the kids participating in it, because they don’t want to get kicked off.”

Students wanting to be a part of the club must sign a behavior contract agreeing to participate in class and perform well in school.

“We’ve seen kids that are in the club, run and tell their teacher right away when they are struggling so they won’t fall behind,” Wahlberg said. “For some reason, this club really turns kids around and makes a big difference.”

Wahlberg believes the feeling of belonging is important for students to have.

“This program builds community, it becomes a school-wide thing the kids can do together,” she said. “Many kids might not want to go out for a team, but they will do this.”

Drobny noted the club teaches students a healthy lifestyle.

“I really do believe that when kids are healthier, they are more successful academically,” she said. “If we can instill these values in them early, they will keep it with them for life.”



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