DOBSON — It seems appropriate Rockford Elementary School, whose mascot is a gator, was undeterred in holding its annual Field and Wellness Day Thursday in spite of rain.
Principal Molly Anderson said this is the second year wellness has been combined with Field Day and seemed a natural choice as educators become more involved in teaching healthy lifestyle choices.
“We decided to do this again this year because it has been received so well by students,” said Anderson. “Physical Education Teacher Carrie Hutchens had a major roll in organizing this. We really had to switch to our rainy day plans at the last minute but we’ve made it work. Education teaches you to be very flexible.”
She said all students in the school participated in the event as well as attending their regular classes. Students rotated among the wellness stations with booths set up by the Happy Tooth children and adults orthodontics, the Surry County Sheriff’s Department, Cooperative Extension Service, The Surry County Health Department, as well as fire safety talks and demonstrations by the Surry Central Volunteer Fire Department and Dobson Rescue Squad. The event also featured volunteer Sonia Dickerson leading Zumba and Reeves Community Center Personal Fitness Instructor Nikki Galyean teaching yoga.
Just Save Grocery Store Customer Service Manager Melissa Johnson and Be A Smart Shopper (BASS) Program spokesman Katie Cave assisted Health Department Representative Rocio Mendez as he talked with students about healthy foods at their wellness station.
“We (Just Save) are affiliated with Lowe’s Foods,” said Johnson. “People are able to eat healthier because of what we do.” Johnson said recent economic downturns had an effect of the grocery business in general but said she was proud of her firm’s emphasis on keeping prices down.
“We try to keep reasonable prices and manage our inventory so what people want is on the shelf,” Johnson said. Instructor Nikki Galyean said a lot of her incentive for participating in the Field and Wellness Day came down to outreach.
“People don’t know what to do to get fit,” said Galyean. “There’s a lot of misleading information out there. Just because something is 150 calories doesn’t mean it’s good for you. You have to have knowledge of what you are putting in your body. Fast Food is the killing of our kids. We (parents) are in such a hurry we have no idea what we’re feeding our kids.”
She said the beginning of that sort of research for her started when she was concerned for the health of her daughter, Love.
“I have led students through a lot of exercises before finishing with yoga,” said Galyean. “I tell them to find something they love that is active and let that be their thing. It has to be something they enjoy.”
Anderson said organizers of the event were trying to “think outside of the box” even before the change in weather gave them incentive to switch things up. She explained that classes rotated between different stations and activities which included Surry County Schools Child Nutrition Director Sherri Parks, who returned to offer as part of her presentation an unfamiliar fruit. She said regular classes for students went on as usual during Field and Wellness Day.
Parks said the goal of this was to get children to try something different than their normal food offerings. This year’s choice was star fruit or carambola. It is native to the Orient and called a star fruit because of the shape of the slices when cut horizontally. They are a commercial crop with many being grown in Florida.
Due to their popularity as a garnish, star fruit is being sold in many specialty produce markets as well as larger chain grocery stores.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 336-719-1952.