A group of fourth- and fifth-grade girls from Lyman Hall Elementary celebrated the completion of their 10-week program by running and finishing a 5K run Dec. 15 at Savannah State University.
The runners were members of the Girls On The Run group, an organization designed to help develop and empower young girls to become flourishing young women.
The run brought together around 365 runners from the Girls On The Run groups in the Coastal Empire.
“The girls and coaches would meet every Tuesday and Thursday after school for 10 weeks. Along with training for the 5k our girls learned life lessons about responsibility, teamwork, community, compassion, healthy body image, problem solving skills, diversity and positive thinking,” said Brittany Nearhoof, an art teacher at Lyman Hall who helps with the training.
Physical-education teacher Cintretta Lewis and fourth grade teacher Connie Flack also coached the girls during the program.
“Connie Flack, Cintretta Lewis and I decided to coach because we believed in the core values of the program,” Nearhoof said. “We recognized that the young ladies of Lyman Hall would greatly benefit from being part of a group on a mission for overall health and wellness. It was a wonderful opportunity for the girls to work toward a long term goal and see it through to its entirety with the 5K celebration at SSU.”
Nearhoof said they started off with 20 girls, but three girls moved away before they were able to finish. The program was introduced to Lyman Hall last spring by former teacher Stephanie Kelly, who coached a program at a previous school. Kelly held an informational meeting and received a good response, which prompted the girls to embark in the fall’s program.
Nearhoof said the girls enjoyed the training.
“It was always a spectacle watching the girls incorporate silly dance moves, skipping and even backwards running into their distance training,” she said.
This past week the girls were allowed to wear their shirts and medals to school.
Nearhoof said athletics help build a girls’ confidence and instills valuable life lessons.
“When I was growing up, I was perpetually involved in athletics,” she said. “I truly believe that the values I learned while participating in a variety of team sports has helped me become a successful adult. I wanted those same opportunities provided for my students.”
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