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Duncan school nominated "Rookie of the Year" for healthy lifestyles

Duncan_Teachers at Duncan's Mark Twain Elementary School are inspiring their students to lead healthy lives.  The school was nominated for "Rookie of the Year" by the Schools for Healthier Lifestyles program.  It judges Oklahoma elementary schools on how well they promote a healthy lifestyle by involving students, families, and faculty. 

Physical Education (PE) has come a long way, and traditional childhood games such as tag and dodge ball are obsolete in most schools.  Physical educators want to ensure students are not playing games that eliminate any student's participation in physical activities. 

Jared Cochran loves his PE class at Mark Twain - he says he likes the variety.  "You get to do different stuff instead of just a regular game," he said.  The students get to play games such as "Dance Dance Revolution" and other physical games using the Nintendo Wii.  PE Coach Monica Smith says she needed funding to make this happen for the students.  "I wanted more money, it was really a selfish thing," she said.  "I wanted to see the kids have more activities."  Smith applied for grants that were awarded to physically fit schools, and she says her "selfishness" has paid off.  "I've got my teachers walking and eating healthier things, so the kids are getting a role model effect to that, too."

Smith says she makes sure fitness doesn't end with the bell.  "When they got home they could play them [games] with their parents, if they could get it [Wii] at Wal Mart, maybe they'd be more active at home," she said.  Since involving her school and community with physical fitness, Mark Twain Elementary has been awarded six grants totaling more than $20,000.  Money well spent to help contribute to the students' physical and mental fitness.  "When they have that physical activity their brains start working in more focused areas," she said.  "They can sit in the classroom and be focused for longer periods of time."

Mark Twain Elementary says the focus of its fitness program is to teach kids that they don't have to diet to maintain a healthy weight.  The school says it wants students to learn a fit lifestyle now, so it will follow them into a healthy adulthood.

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