At Westover Elementary School in Silver Spring, the jumping, throwing and running is paying off.

Ten-year-old Patricia Freeman is part of the reason why.

“I did basketball and I do ballet and lyrical for dance,” she exuberantly shared.

Dylan Rose is in the fourth grade and told ABC7, “Sometimes when you exercise you can get rewards.”

The school recently received the Fire Up Your Feet award for promoting physical activity among students, families and staff.

Principal Dr. Patricia Kelly didn’t expect her school to win.

“Oh my gosh, we were so surprised because we are the third smallest school in the school system so we really didn’t think we had a chance,” she admitted.

Westover won the top prize in Maryland: $2,000 from Kaiser Permanente.

Celeste James is director of community health for Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States. She explained Fire Up Your Feet is part of the Thriving Schools program.

“That’s a program to get kids active and it’s really not just kids. It’s to get teachers and staff involved as well. To be active and move their bodies during the school day.”

The Centers for Disease Control reports more than a third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese and believes schools can play an important role in improving that.

Pursuing the Fire Up Your Feet award was the idea of PTA President Ly McCormick. She said, “It meant all the families had to participate. They tracked their activity anytime they went out for a walk, anytime they exercised, participated in a sport activity they were logging it.”

For one month, every physical activity counted including the Halloween Parade and the Full Moon Dance.

Westover plans to use part of the prize money to expand fitness activities for students, a way to fire up their feet for years to come.

Source: ABC 7
December 8, 2015
By Kellye Lynn