By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Southborough – While many local students were sitting at their desks learning the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, dozens of students from the Albert S. Woodward Memorial School braved the early morning cold and participated in the first ever “December Dash.” The event, which took place at the Trottier Middle School track, is part of Woodward's Wake Up and Workout Program.
Many of the students wore hats in celebration of Crazy Hat Day.
Mary Ellen Duggan is the Woodward school nurse.
“Ms. Goode [the Physical Education teacher] and I have a before school exercise program called Wake Up and Workout at Woodward every Tuesday and Friday morning from 8 to 8:45,” Duggan said. “We started this program last year and this year we were able to enhance the program with support from?a Southborough Education Foundation grant.?We usually have about 35 students come each day for the early morning workout.?This morning 73 students and a few parents took part in the December Dash – which was way above our expectations.”
The main goals of the Wake Up and Workout program are to maximize and increase student fitness levels and healthy attitudes towards exercise and fitness. According to Duggan, research suggests that children who exercise before school have more energy, better attention and are more involved and engaged during school.?In addition, students receiving additional physical activity tend to show improved attributes such as increased brain function, higher concentration levels, increased self esteem and better behavior which all support and enhance student achievement.?
Duggan is enthusiastic about the long-term benefits of the program.?
“We are hoping to instill healthy lifestyle choices that will last a lifetime,” she added.
?(Photos by Sue Wambolt)