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What started almost a year ago as a dream, was completed this past month when a ¼ mile paved track for running and walking that will benefit the students, faculty, staff, and community of North Elementary was officially opened.
Tonya Garner of the Grundy County Health Department and member of the Diabetes Coalition of the Grundy County Health Council wrote and received a grant from Bristol-Myers-Scribb. This grant is overseen by a committee from Marshall University in Virginia and is to enhance the health of the residents of Grundy County.
Mrs. Garner and other members of the Diabetes Coalition, Shelia Beard, Emily Partin, Darryl Adams, Karen Wickham, and Renee Corley, met last January with representatives from Marshall. At that time the plans were made for the construction of the track at North Elementary. Grant money in the amount of $5,000 would go toward the track. The remaining funds, approximately $15,000, would need to be raised. Mrs. Renee Corley, a teacher at North Elementary and LEAPS after school coordinator, began seeking funds.
The Horace Mann Insurance Company donated $100; $200 was given by Local Steelworks Union 1155 from the Bridgestone Plant in Morrison; some funds were raised at a 5K Run/Walk held at the school; and the remainder of $14,750, was given in a grant from The Community Fund of the South Cumberland.
These events took place through the summer and fall. In September, construction began on the track and a ribbon cutting ceremony was held in November to officially open the track. Present for the ceremony were members of the Grundy County Health Council’s Diabetes Coalition, representatives from The Community Fund of the South Cumberland, Chane Corp, a student from the University of the South at Sewanee, and faculty, staff, and students from North Elementary.
After everyone walked a lap around the track, a healthful meal was provided by the Diabetes Coalition. Another part of the grant that was received monitors the students that attend the after school LEAPS program. Students were encouraged to have an additional 30 minutes of physical activity every day. This activity was logged by North Elementary teacher Kayla Rymer, who reported the results to Mrs. Garner. Students that had logged the most time were recognized after the meal on the day the track was opened.
Students Hagan Walker, Braxton Norris, Thomas Myers, Lauren Myers, Joseph Miller, Randy Fults, Robby Fults, Elijah Campbell, Isaac Campbell, and Billy Goodman received T-shirts from Active8, which is a part of the Grundy County Health Council.
Receiving either a bracelet Frisbee from Active8 were Kennadi Barrett, Andy Blair, Alex Coppinger, Hunter Hanner, Heather Myers, Alycia Montero, and Livia Benefield.
Aiden Lusk, Destiny McGee, Juliana Michael, Dylan Tate, Kasey Tate, Lynden King, and Skylar Huntley received an Active8 pencil.
In addition to supplying funds for the track and incentives and meals for the LEAPS students, the grant money is also providing Zumba classes each week for the students during the after school time and for adult Zumba classes for anyone from the community that is interested in increasing their physical activity and becoming more active. These classes are taught by Zumba instructor, Jill Myers. The adult classes are held two nights each week in the North Elementary gym. The classes will continue after school resumes in January.
Pictured (first row): Maria Gravely, Marshall University; Tonya Garner, Grundy County Health Department and Diabetes Coalition; Renee Corley, teacher at North Elementary and member of the Diabetes Coalition; Principal Kathy Hill of North Elementary; and Scott Parrish, Community Fund of the South Cumberland; (second row): Darryl Adams, nurse, Grundy County Health Department and member of the Diabetes Coalition; Karen Wickham, member of the Diabetes Coalition; Emily Partin, Community Fund of the South Cumberland and member of the Diabetes Coalition; and the students and faculty of North Elementary.