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Friendship Elementary turns festival into healthy exercise
School hosts 1st Wellness Fair
Jennifer Ball, school nurse at Friendship Elementary School, helps Owen Conley with a vision test Saturday at the school’s wellness fair. - photo by Tom Reed

Friendship Elementary School pulled out all the stops Saturday for its first Wellness Fair.

From bounce houses to auctions to free health screens, Friendship had it all. Principal Berry Walton began the festivities with a one-mile fun run, followed by several activities in the gym, including Xbox dancing video games and a prize auction.

"We want to promote a healthy culture here in our community," Walton said.

"Our goal is for our students to be moving 60 minutes a day,"

Caroline Rhodes, a student at Friendship Elementary, placed third in the run. She said it was her favorite part of the day.

In addition to the activities, booths were offered from local health organizations like United Health Care, Bike Safety and the YMCA.

Ann LaPorte of UnitedHealthcare is a wellness fair veteran.

"I haven't seen one (child) who was not happy and smiling. It's a good way to keep people alert that they've got to take care of themselves," LaPorte said.

The wellness fair wasn't just aimed at the students; parents were also welcome to take advantage of the free services, including flu shots and biometric screenings.

"A biometric screening takes your blood pressure, calculates your body fat and your BMI, and a fingerstick (blood test) gets your total cholesterol and your glucose," medical assistant Vanessa Bailey explained.

Formerly the school's fall festival, the Wellness Fair also boasts the school's largest fundraiser.

Parents and students could purchase raffle tickets and drop them into the bucket of the prize they desired.

The prizes, supplied by businesses and parental donations, ranged from hiking adventures to a Wii game station. All prized focused on family health and wellness.

School Wellness Coordinator Jacob Weiers aims to encourage students and parents alike to make healthier choices and inspire entertaining ways to incorporate exercise.

"We want to spread the message that health education can be fun," he said.

As a school of choice, Friendship Elementary welcomes students from any school in the Hall County system. Friendship offers four- and eight-week afternoon wellness activities, including basketball, hip-hop dancing and yoga.


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