Once lunch is dismissed, the Catwalkers come running outside, ready to make their laps.
The Catwalkers are a group of students from Green Elementary, in grades 3-6, who spend their recess time walking.
The idea for the group came from fifth grade student Emilee Ramey. The club is advised by Penny Absher-Huff, an intervention teacher at Green Elementary, and Sherry Ratliff, a bus driver and elementary aide.
“I like being active and it’s something all the students can do,” Ramey said. “I like that the teachers take their own time to come out and walk with us.”
It’s not only about making healthy choices and living an active lifestyle, the Catwalkers incorporate academics into their club as well.
Once recess is over, they count their steps and chart their daily progress. At the end of the month, they add up their steps and convert them into miles. Then, Absher tells them how far they could travel with their mileage.
“I’ve had a lot of fun with the students, just walking around with them. It’s something I look forward to and I enjoy it,” Ratliff said.
The students reach about 1,000 steps each recess. From September to May, the Catwalkers have walked 470 miles.
To put that into perspective, that’s the distance from Franklin Furnace to St. Louis Missouri.
Southern Ohio Medical Center donated $500 to the Catwalkers. This donation made it possible for their Catwalkers to participate in their first 5k and purchase T-shirts for their group.
In addition to SOMC’s donation, Robert’s Running and Walking Shop in Huntington, West Virginia, donated 22 pairs of new and gently used tennis shoes and pedometers to the students.
The group has also recieved some private donations of coats for inclement weather and more shoes.
“We’re really grateful for the donations, I was able to distribute the shoes to the students who were in need of them,” Absher said.
The Catwalkers will be participating in the fourth annual “Heatin’ Up the Furnance” 5k walk/run. The 5k will take place May 21 at 9 a.m., starting at the Franklin Furnace fire station.
“We wanted to invite the community to come out and support the Catwalkers. If they want to, they can register and walk themselves, or cheer from the sidelines,” Absher said.
The 5k is sponsored by the Green Boys Basketball Team and Green High School’s Service Learning program.
Pre-registration is $15 through May 20 and $20 the day of the race. All pre-registered participants will receive a T-shirt.
For more information about the 5k, call 740-354-9150.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-31o1 ext 1932 or via Twitter @PDT_Ciara