NDS students learn fitness  for life in day-long event

Seventh graders at Notre Dame School participated in the variety of fitness activities last week, including this fast-paced agility / step exercise on the soccer field led by Jorge Salinas. He demonstrated the steps through the rings on the ground, then encouraged the students to do the same, as quickly as they could.

All grade levels of students at Notre Dame Catholic School, from prekindergarten through eighth, spent nearly an entire class day on March 12 practicing a variety of skills to “Get Fit.”

And for this individual and team exercise they were led by a large number of community volunteers in addition to the teachers on the staff.

In approximately half-hour segments they rotated among “stations” from the church courtyard on the west, into the gym, and to the field on the east.

Every adult from Principal Sandy Killo to each volunteer “coach” sported nearly neon green t-shirts, as did the students. And San Saba Cap provided headgear for all the adults. Notre Dame School Coach Michelle Maguire was the overall director of this day of fitness.

The 12 “stations” included:

• Martial Arts;

• The Carrot Patch;

• Fitness with the Kroc;

• Soccer;

• Zumba;

• Nutrition;

• Faith Walk

• Stretch Breathe;

• Dental;

• Tennis;

• Fitness;

• Walk Across Texas.

Even lunch periods were considered part of the fitness lessons, as older students helped make and serve a “salad buffet” to all their fellow students.

And the Carrot Patch representatives were set up in the gym lobby concession area to serve carrot smoothies and samples of carrot cake to the school “athletes” through the day.

Volunteers from the local Salvation Army Kroc Center led the fitness class in half the gym, at one point using simple balloons as “equipment” with the preschoolers. They asked the children to keep each of their balloons up in the air by hitting them up with their hands, and then by hitting them with their heads, and by hitting them with their noses. The children took the activity as a big game, with laughter.

Out on the sports field, adult leader Jorge Salinas had the seventh-graders doing an agility exercise repeating his sequence of steps inside and outside a series of rings laid on the ground.

Other volunteers had student groups on the sports field exercising while they learned something about golf, tennis and general fitness with a Camp Gladiator leader.

In the courtyard of the church, George Anne Elmore from Camp Waldemar in West Kerr County took groups of students on a “Faith Walk” to the Stations of the Cross illustrated on stone pillars.

A Notre Dame parishioner and the church’s Eucharistic Minister, Elmore led each group in an age-appropriate discussion of each station and its importance in the church’s faith.

Volunteer Darlene Karthauser led Zumba classes for all age groups, with the students following her movement instructions as best they could, to the music. Teachers offered some personal commentary on how much exercise they were getting at the same time.

Two representatives from Tots to Teens dental office spoke to small groups and gave lessons about how to brush their teeth – practiced with toothbrushes and some stuffed animals – plus showing the students some of the equipment they would see in a dentist’s office and talking with them about the dangers of “sugar bugs” in their mouths.

In the other half of the gym, Jose Flores from True Fit gym, talked with students about martial arts, the competitions he’s participated in, and awards he’s won.

Students then followed Flores’ directions in exercising with “Indian clubs,” one of the first pieces of fitness equipment, he said.

He directed them in ways to rotate the club in circles, or use it as a weight and prop while doing “lunges.”

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