12/29/06 — Brogden Primary continues southern end walking track

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Brogden Primary continues southern end walking track

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 29, 2006 1:47 PM

Brogden Primary School students will not only be focusing on physical activity as part of their New Year's resolutions, they will continue to have a track program, thanks to a benefactor and the Wayne County Health Department.

The Brogden staff is always looking for creative ways to help alleviate the problem of limited space in the school's gymnasium. So, they formed the Mileage Club last year as a way to satisfy the state's "Be Active N.C." program.

"We wanted to get kids running or walking more and also improve their mile run score on the President's Challenge Physical Fitness Test," said Mary Franklin, physical education teacher.

The program was designed to give teachers another option to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine.

A track was set up outside the rear of the school and students and staff were given tokens as incentives for accomplishing different levels of activity.

The program was so well-received by students and staff that the school decided to continue it this year, said Wendy Hooks, principal. Funding it, though, proved to be a challenge.

Ms. Franklin applied for grant money through the national program DonorsChoose. They didn't receive the grant directly, but were later surprised when their application elicited a response from an unexpected source.

"Bob Schwartz from Michigan -- a humorist writer of children's books, a lawyer and a former runner who started a youth track team called Cheetah's Running Team -- read about the need, e-mailed me and asked about the program, if we needed funds," she said.

"I explained that we used to receive Title I funds, but since they have got to go to targeted assistance, we weren't able to use it for supplies."

When Schwartz asked how much she would need to continue the program, Ms. Franklin said she asked for $300 to get supplies to finish this year.

"He sent us $1,500. He said that we should have funds to start next year," she said. "It was just amazing. We're very grateful."

The good news did not stop there. Ms. Franklin said the school was recently notified that it was chosen by the Wayne County Health Department as the site of a walking area for the southern end of the county.

Sometime after the holidays, the track will be marked and open to the public. Signs will also be posted indicating four laps equals a mile, a mile equals 400 meters, etc., she said.

Ideally, the track will eventually be paved and have lighting, Ms. Franklin said. For now, though, she is satisfied with sand or gravel to allow young and old to walk, run and enjoy the area.