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Walk Across Canada

Walk Across Canada

Grade 9 students Krystal Hackett, front, and Shauna Paul, at St. Peter’s Academy in Benoit’s Cove, show how far they have travelled since starting the Walk Across Canada at the beginning of the school year.  — Star Photos by Geraldine Brophy
Grade 9 students Krystal Hackett, front, and Shauna Paul, at St. Peter’s Academy in Benoit’s Cove, show how far they have travelled since starting the Walk Across Canada at the beginning of the school year. — Star Photos by Geraldine Brophy
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St. Peter’s Academy students on a journey to live healthier lives

ADAM HARNUM SPECIAL TO THE STAR 
The Western Star

BENOIT’S COVE It’s essential for youth to engage in active, healthy lifestyles. In fact, the youth of our province have the highest rate of obesity in Canada. 

At the beginning of the school year, St. Peter’s Academy in Benoit’s Cove added an activity to its physical education program to promote fitness and active lifestyles among students. The activity is called Walk Across Canada.

Since September, all students from Kindergarten to Grade 9 in the school have been participating in a walk/run to cover the distance of 7,314 kilometres from St. John’s to Victoria, B.C. 

Gordon Casey, physical education teacher at St. Peter’s, said that at the beginning of each class the students have to run for six to eight minutes, and count the laps they run. 

“When the kids complete their laps they tell me the distance that they have run and I then log their distances to be added at the end to give a total distance for the class. It is then recorded on the map (of Canada) to show where we currently place on the map,” Casey told The Western Star.

According to Casey, every 40 laps that a student runs around the perimeter of the gymnasium is equivalent to 2.2 km and to date all the students combined have run over 6,400 km, placing them just west of Edmonton on the map.

In March, the school hosted a Youth Walk for Health. The school held one walk a week and a large portion of the school community participated, including teachers, staff, students and family members from around various communities on the south shore.

Casey said the event was a great success reaching almost a maximum number of participants and hopes that people continue to be involved in events such as these.

“What we’ve been trying to achieve is to promote a positive and healthy attitude in our students and community. We want to send out the message that physical fitness at the school level or community level is beneficial to all of society,” said Casey. “We’re trying to incorporate physical fitness into our activities so that students can see a goal, strive and reach for it and feel good about themselves when they achieve it.”

Grade 9 students Krystal Hackett and Shauna Paul both feel that the Walk Across Canada and the other activities were all great successes.

“It’s really good because when I started the school year and was told of the goal that was set for us to accomplish, my first feeling was ‘wow, that’s pretty amazing to set such a big goal to accomplish,’” said Paul. “I had my doubts but now the school year is almost over and we’re just about done, it feels unbelievable.”

Hackett said it’s really great to see the school set a goal and try to achieve it as a whole community.

The Eat Smart School Cafeteria Menu, which has been implemented as part of the school’s nutrition policy to enforce healthier food choices in students, is a complement to the more fitness-oriented approach to the physical education program.

Guidance counsellor Audrey Atkins said the reason for the nutrition change in the menu is because it provides a potential for youth to engage in active, healthy lifestyles.

“St. Peter’s is a school that is on the move. It has an excellent physical education program, from the run on the hill to the Terry Fox Run and now this across Canada run,” said Atkins. “This is so important because both active living and healthy eating makes for a better way of life for the students.”
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