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Jefferson students learn to be active

POSTED: December 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Students get active

Watch Jefferson Elementary students get a visit from Ronald McDonald.

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Jefferson Elementary School students work out with the help of Ronald McDonald during an assembly Tuesday morning that encouraged the students to think healthy during the holidays.

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JEFFERSON — A top McDonald’s executive stopped by Jefferson Elementary School to impart a little knowledge to the students on Tuesday.

"It’s always good to warm up before you exercise," he told the students during his presentation. "And remember to find your friends to go out and play for at least one hour every day because it will help you stay healthy, sleep better and perform better at school."

If that advice seems a bit random coming from a high-powered executive, maybe it would make more sense if you knew that the executive was McDonalds’ Chief Happiness Officer Ronald McDonald.

The fast-food chain’s iconic mascot was at the school as a part of the corporation’s "Go Active with Ronald McDonald" program.

The program was created through a collaboration with the McDonald’s Corp. and the American Academy of Pediatrics as a way to encourage elementary students to incorporate physical fitness and activity into their daily routine.

Since students only are able to participate in physical education at school twice a week, school officials say programs like Tuesday’s event are important to help reinforce healthy lifestyle choices.

"We chose this week for the Go Active presentation because it was a short week for the students because of Thanksgiving break," said Mark Mullis, a Jefferson Elementary School physical education teacher.

"Since the kids will be home the rest of the week, we thought this was perfect timing because they’ll be able to discuss what they’ve learned with their families while they are out on vacation."

During the 40-minute presentation, Ronald McDonald put on a one-man show entertaining the students with skits involving his invisible friend Frederica the High-Diving Flea and Hamby the Hamburglar while imparting healthy habits like making healthy food choices and going out to play instead of sitting in front of a TV all day.

"You don’t have to be a gymnast to be a Go Active athlete, all you have to do is get your friends and go outside and play and have fun," he told the students.

At one point during the show, to the delight of the students, Ronald McDonald called all of the teachers to the front of the room to demonstrate a silly dance, which involved playing an air guitar enthusiastically, flapping their arms like a chicken and shuffling to the side.

"Dancing is a great way to be a Go Active athlete," Ronald McDonald said to the attentive group. "Remember when you go home for Thanksgiving break to get your friends and Go Active!"



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