Stories And Inspiration

Staff, Community Support High Point GO FAR Club

Submitted by Anonymous on Oct 21st 2014 - 7:00AM. | Perma Link

Northwood GO FAR

Tanya Rodriguez admits they were skeptical. She and the other GO FAR coaches had no idea how many children would be interested in the new running club they were starting this fall.

“We had no idea just how big of a movement this would become,” said Rodriguez, GO FAR coach and Reading Specialist/Interventionist at Northwood Elementary School in High Point.

“When word spread about who the coaches were and that we would all have the opportunity to cross the finish line as winners, displaying all of our hard work around our necks in the form of shiny new medals, students raced home to ask their parents’ permission,” she said.

Unfortunately, that excitement lost momentum for some when families couldn’t afford the participation fee. Thanks to a school staff that pitched in to sponsor those children, the Northwood GO FAR club was able to accept all registrants.

Kindergarten teacher Sheri Hicks is one of those sponsors. “We are an international baccalaureate magnet school who believes in service to others,” she said. “We have to model that for our students. My reward is listening to the laughter of those little ones as they are running along beside a teacher whom they greatly admire. I enjoy hearing them announce with great pride their times from a run.”

Every Tuesday and Thursday, 33 students and five coaches train for the Nov. 15 GO FAR event. “Our students show up, embrace our character-building lesson, and are ready to hit the pavement and reach their goals,” Rodriguez said. “They take ownership of their learning, motivate one another with high-fives and encouraging words, and are proud of their accomplishments.”Northwood runner

It’s truly a team and community effort. The Junior League of High Point provides healthy snacks for the group, including things the GO FAR curriculum touts as being good choices: apple slices, cheese sticks, yogurt, bananas, and plenty of water to drink.

Mary Powell DeLille, president of the High Point Junior League, said the group’s focus on women and children includes health and wellness with children. “We try to partner with other organizations in the community to help reach our goals,” she said.

It’s a partnership that benefits all sides. Junior League members come out and run with the kids and motivate them. “The kids are absolutely loving it,” DeLille said. “The teachers are doing a fabulous job with it. They are more psyched about it than the kids are.”

It shows. “Once the teachers saw how enthusiastic the coaches and the students were, that enthusiasm became contagious and they wanted in on it,” Rodriguez said. “Many who could not contribute financially contribute by showing up to run with us. They stand in the parking lot giving out high-fives and cheers, and one teacher even waits outside her trailer to use her cowbell to show her enthusiasm and support before we start running.”

Sponsor Liz Samuels, Communities in Schools site coordinator for the school, said the teachers have helped build up the enthusiasm and positive excitement about the club and have been great role models. She’s glad to see the program at her school.

“It is fun for the kids, and they feel so proud for what they accomplish,” she said. “It also creates an atmosphere of belonging and cooperative support that is vital to develop our children to their potential. They are encouraged regardless of how fast or well they run at the beginning, and the feeling of success when they see themselves improving is invaluable.”

Rodriguez can see that success too. “I know all of the coaches and staff here at Northwood would agree that being a part of this movement and witnessing the students’ emotional and physical growth has changed our lives,” she said. “They inspire us each and every day.”

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