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Healthy and fit at Oakland

Published 10:37pm Friday, February 1, 2013

A lot of calories were burned and healthy lessons learned at Oakland Elementary Friday, when the school got into the swing of things with a daylong event to promote health and fitness.

Parents were invited to the school to join the student body and staff in a day of learning about nutrition and the importance of staying active.

During a day to promote health and fitness at Oakland Elementary School Friday, parent Sherry Powell squeezes in as many hula hoop circles as she can.

“We have three times the amount of parents this year than last year,” physical education teacher Anne McCoy said.

Parents made health bracelets with art teacher Jodi Linkous, and every student received one. Kids tried different healthy foods in an interactive lab, learned about foods grown in Virginia and used state maps to learn where those foods are grown.

But possibly the highlight of the day was the pedometer challenge, in which students challenged parents to accumulate as many steps as possible across a circuit of various activities, including hula hoops, jump rope and basketball.

It was unclear who won after both groups lined up for McCoy to tally their pedometers — and there were lighthearted allegations of cheating by the parents — but everyone clearly had a lot of fun.

The competition took place in the gymnasium before bleachers packed with cheering students who even got the wave going.

“I’ve been here since early in the morning helping with the food for the kids,” said Sherry Powell, parent of Asia and Jordan Powell and wife of Tavaris Powell, who also attended the event.

“As a full-time working mom, it has been tremendous being here to spend time with my daughter and my son.”

Tavaris Powell, his clean-shaven head shining in the fluorescent lights, told the children why they should eat plenty of tomatoes.

“When I was in the first grade, I didn’t eat tomatoes,” he said. “Tomatoes help the hair grow; you don’t want to be bald like me.”

Anthony Rivers was another enthusiastic parent who attended the event. “It’s phenomenal (and) very positive,” he said, in between his energetic, crowd-pleasing antics including slides across the floor and dancing to anything remotely resembling any kind of music whatsoever.

After the pedometer challenge, groups of parents challenged groups of students to a series of noodle hockey games.

Oakland Elementary has a reputation for promoting health and fitness, and won the American Heart Association’s 2011-2012 National Heart Healthy School award.

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