​Three Arlington County Public Schools Earn Healthy School Award

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Earlier this fall, the Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) and long-time Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) sponsor Sodexo presented three Arlington County Public Schools with the 2019 Healthy School Awards, after months of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, Claremont Immersion, Taylor Elementary and Alice West Fleet Elementary Schools registered a combined 587 students between the ages of 5-12, earning the Healthy School Award for having the most student participants at the 2019 MCM Kids Run. The Healthy School Award includes a grant from Sodexo to the winning schools’ physical education departments, in addition to healthy snacks for each student. The MCMO also presented the three schools with a custom laser cutting of the Marine Corps War Memorial designed by a local artist.

“Sodexo is proud to be a sponsor of the MCM Kids Run. We take great pleasure in supporting a healthy lifestyle for the kids. It’s great to see all of the kids running their hardest and fastest to the finish line,” shared Sodexo’s General Manager of Marine Barracks Washington, John Beck.

This year, following health and safety guidelines, the beloved MCM Kids Run was replaced by the virtual Semper Fun Mile, a one-mile event for kids to run with their parents or guardians wherever they are in the world. But the Healthy School Award challenge remains in place. Whether families register through an organized school group or own their own as individuals, as long as affiliated elementary school is named, credit will go towards the Healthy School Award consideration.

“Our goal every year is to be in the top five, if not the top school,” said Michael Smith, one of the physical education teachers at Taylor Elementary who accepted the award on his school’s behalf. “Winning the award helps our program out so much. It allows us to replenish the equipment so the students have the maximum opportunity to learn and grow.”

Sharla Hamilton, physical education teacher at Alice West Fleet Elementary School, shared that the focus during remote learning has been keeping students moving as much as possible and promoting healthy eating and drinking water.

“This award means so much, especially now,” said Hamilton. “We can use this money to provide our students with equipment to use at home during virtual learning.”

According to Jessica Panfil, principal at Claremont Immersion School, “Winning the award last year gave students a great sense of accomplishment that we can achieve something if we all come together and work towards a common goal,” said Panfil. “The grant offered our school’s program the ability to invest in new equipment and other resources to benefit student learning. If we were to win this year, we would like to look at investing in our virtual program to make it more exciting for kids to participate.”

“I liked that the students had the opportunity to run with the Marines. Seeing the determination and smiles on their faces is my favorite,” said Smith, a sentiment echoed by his peers.

Registration for the Semper Fun Mile is still open, so get your friends, families, and neighbors to join in on the fun!