Students get exercise, enjoy sports at fitness club

4/20/2013

By RACHAEL GRAY

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

Isaiah Guebara has never played volleyball before.

Friday afternoon at Buffalo Jones Elementary School, the 11-year-old fourth grader got the opportunity to learn.

The school's fitness club has monthly activities featuring different activities and sports.

Alison Oppenheimer, language arts teacher from Horace Good Middle School, taught the students the basic technique of the game including different ways to approach and hit the ball. She brought middle school students to help show the younger students.

"I've only played football with friends. Not volleyball," Guebara said.

Guebara said he enjoys the fitness club.

"It's fun. We get to do a lot of different things," he said.

Diane Smith, third grade teacher at Buffalo Jones Elementary School, said the fitness club started this year to build on various activities from last year.

"We realized one of the biggest needs was fitness for the kids," she said.

The club meets once a month and does various activities. Past events have included basketball and Zumba. At the beginning of the school year, students voted on what their interests were.

"This club has generated a lot of parent and student interest this year. We expect it to double next year," she said.

Currently about 40 students participate.

Smith said the mission of the club is simple: to promote physical activity and let students learn how to lead healthy lifestyles.

"They also might found out they're interested in sports and join a team once they get into middle school," she said.

Smith said the experience also has been positive for parents.

"It also has gotten the parents interested and involved in activity," she said.

Smith said the club allows students to be exposed to sports they haven't played. It also allows students to be involved in after-school activities without parents having to devote extra time or money.

The fitness club also enjoys a healthy snack after the hour-long activity. Friday, participants had apples, bananas, oranges and water.

Joselin Sanchez, 9, a fourth-grader, has been in the fitness club since the beginning of the school year.

Sanchez said her favorite form of exercise is doing cartwheels in her backyard. She also said the fitness club is fun.

"I like that we get to exercise. It's healthy for us," she said.

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