Haine students learn all about healthy lifestyles
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Eagle Staff Writer
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November 4, 2017
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Makenna Berg, a fifth grader at Haine Middle School, wears a fire helmet during a demonstration Tuesday at Haine Walk-A-Thon, part of a morning of activities to end Red Ribbon Week.

CRANBERRY TWP — Seneca Valley’s Haine Middle School wrapped up Red Ribbon Week Tuesday morning with its fourth annual Walk-A-Thon.

The school for students in fifth and sixth grade celebrated national drug prevention program Red Ribbon Week from Oct. 23 to 31. The Walk-A-Thon is a culminating event that teaches students about how to keep their bodies and minds healthy and raises money for local groups.

“It’s about promoting healthy lifestyles and making connections in the community,” said John Schmidt, an event organizer and special education teacher at the school.

During Red Ribbon Week teachers facilitate age-appropriate discussions about healthy habits, and students can take a pledge to be drug-free. The Walk-A-Thon, organized with help from the Haine Parent-Teacher Organization, is a fun way to conclude the week by exposing children to different activities and community “super heroes” that help keep people safe, Schmidt said.

Students were asked to wear their favorite superhero shirt for the day as they cycled through activities in rooms throughout the school and outside.

Area businesses and groups ran zumba, art, music, volleyball, aerobics and gymnastics classes in the school. Outside, the township brought in the Pittsburgh Flying Disc Society and the Cranberry Township Pickleball Association to introduce students to two sports that are making their way in the community.

The Cranberry Township Volunteer Fire Company, Cranberry EMS and police department were also outside with their equipment, as were representatives from the Allegheny Mountain Rescue Group, a volunteer search and rescue group based in Pittsburgh, to teach children about what they do to help the community.

Search and rescue dogs Mellow, a golden retriever, and Daisy, a dogo argentino, accepted pets and scratches from visiting students.

Each fifth- and sixth-grade class participated in four activities, and then had about 75 minutes to walk at the soccer field behind the school. Although the weather was brisk, the energy level was high throughout the halls and outside the school.

“The kids love it,” Schmidt said. “Every year it’s gotten bigger.”

Lucas Boyle, a sixth grader, said pickleball was his favorite activity to do. He enjoyed learning about the different groups and participating in different activities.

“Some you learned about and some activities you can do and actually play them later too,” he said.

The event is not just about engaging students’ minds and bodies. It also raises money for local nonprofit groups through pledges students get for the walk portion of the day.

This year donations will go to Project Bundle Up, a group that provides new winter outerwear to children and senior citizens in low income households throughout Western Pennsylvania.