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Trophy, Kikkan Randall get Abbott Loop students pumped about the Challenge

PE teacher Michel Woods of Abbott Loop hoists a trophy to get students excited about the Challenge.

Michel Woods pulled over a plastic chair, stood on top of it in the middle of the school gym, and raised a trophy half his size over his head.

This, he told hundreds of Abbott Loop Elementary students, is your prize if everyone in your classroom — including your teacher — completes the Healthy Futures Challenge during each month.

Mr. Woods wasn’t even supposed to be the center of attention at the school assembly. That role went to Olympic skier Kikkan Randall, who visited Abbott Loop and three other Anchorage elementary schools this fall to get the students excited about participating in the Healthy Futures Challenge. But Mr. Woods got the kids excited with the trophy, and Abbott Loop joined 150 other schools across Alaska in undertaking the Challenge. Abbott Loop finished in fourth place among large elementary schools for total participation last spring with about 86 percent of its children completing the Challenge.

A PE teacher at Abbott Loop for 21 years, Mr. Woods believes that all of his students should have valor and good character, and they should all get out and play every day. That’s why he’s a big supporter of the Healthy Futures Challenge. The school’s principal, Arthur Sosa, also supports the Challenge and keeps his own Healthy Futures activity log hanging on his office door. His log showed he jogged Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday AND Friday the first week.

To complete the Challenge, a student must finish at least 30 minutes of physical activity outside of gym class three days a week for four weeks in a row. The September Challenge finishes this week, but kids can continue in October and November, and again during the spring challenge starting in February. The Healthy Futures Challenge is one way to help Alaska children get closer to the national recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity every day for good health.

Is your child’s school joining the Abbott Loop Wildcats in the Healthy Futures Challenge? Visit the Healthy Futures website for a list of participating schools.