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Midvale Journal

Midvalley, East Midvale Elementaries Place Emphasis on Fitness

Jun 10, 2016 08:29AM ● By Julie Slama

East Midvale students took to the street May 6 in the school’s third annual fun run fundraiser. —Julie Slama

By Julie Slama  |  julie@mycityjournals.com


Midvalley fifth-grader Mason Zabriskie began to sprint when he turned the corner of his school and could see the finish line in sight.

“I dreamed of being the first Midvalley kid to finish,” Mason said, knowing he would have to beat Ricky Garcia, a third-grader who was ahead of him.

Mason proudly accepted the second place ribbon, second only to high school sprinter Casey Hake, who was the first runner in the one-mile school fun run. 

“I run laps around the baseball field and I’ve run a couple 5Ks, so I was ready to run,” Zabriskie said.

However, it wasn’t just about the April 19 Parent Teacher Association fun run for Mason. He also enjoyed going to about 15 of the activities and booths that were held as part of the school’s health and wellness week.

“I liked the dental booth where they gave us a packet of information,” he said. “I’d like to be an orthodontist after I play professional baseball for the Nationals or Yankees.”

The booths ranged from recreation centers’ summer offerings to information on mental health and dyslexia. There was a DJ who kept students active with games and hula hoops. As students went from booth to booth, they had passports stamped, and at the end they could receive a Midvalley plastic water bottle, PTA President Barbara Hake said. 

Taminna Tampirak, the school’s nutrition services manager, offered healthy snacks donated by parents, the PTA and Smith’s as well as recipes and coloring sheets.

“I gave out fruit and cottage cheese, just a bit of something after the run,” she said. “The tangerines were a hit.”

The health and wellness event was coordinated by the PTA and AmeriCorps, with several parents volunteering, Hake said.

“We wanted to raise awareness for healthy lifestyles and to give them a chance to be active and have fun with their friends,” Hake said.

On May 5, East Midvale hosted its Family Health and Fitness Night. During the evening, about 175 students and their families were asked to visit at least five fitness stations and four informational booths to record on their log sheets. Those could then be placed into a drawing for prizes.

The fitness stations included hula hoops, basketball, a soccer clinic organized by Brigham Young University men’s soccer, Just Dance, human bowling, a United Fire obstacle course and other activities. The information booths included tables about nutrition, bike safety and the CHIP insurance program, as well as a nursing service station to learn about blood pressure and pulse rates, among other things. Participants received vouchers to use at El Pariente taco truck to receive free tacos.

“The point of it is to help our families learn about more healthy options for them that are available in our community,” East Midvale principal Justin Pitcher said. 

The next morning, 610 students could run, along with some faculty and family members, the one-mile PTA fun run along the city streets. Pitcher joined every grade level in the fun run.

The first two runners in were kindergarteners Judah Lawli and Samantha Chauv. 

“It was fun running with my principal,” Judah said, who beat Pitcher at the finish line. 

Samantha said she likes to exercise.

“I go on walks with my family and my Australian shepherd mix,” she said. “I like running. It’s fun.”

Parent Sean Patrick McDonald was there supporting his son, Oisin.

“I’m excited that they’re learning about health and fitness,” he said. “We don’t have soda or chips. I can’t keep grapes, cherries, strawberries around the house as the kids eat them so fast.

The event doubled as a fundraiser, and at a midway point, Sadie Ruetz’s fourth-grade class brought in the most donations to that date. So on April 29, the class received a tour of the Rio Tinto stadium and met with some Real Salt Lake players and saw their practice, school community facilitator Shelley McCall said.

Donations still were being totaled as the race took place, with a goal to reach $5,000. The money is earmarked for field trips and school programs, said PTA president Heather Erickson.

“With the fun run, 100 percent of our money goes for things we need at our school,” she said.

Neighbor Tamara Jensen said that this was a much better way to raise money for the students.

“The usual fundraisers are never what you want,” she said. “I buy things to support the students and school, but it’s shoved in the drawer. I’d much rather give donations to the school and encourage them to be active.”

Many items were donated by area businesses, said Wendy Court, who, along with PTA fundraising chair Lesley Baer, helped get contributions.

“We love this run,” she said about the school’s third annual fun run. “There’s energy [and] involvement, and the kids are active.”

Kindergarten teacher Karen Kalm agreed: “It’s just a fun day where people come out on the streets to cheer them on after spending the night on the playground, learning about fitness.”