New club has Londonderry girls running with confidence
Members of the Girls on the Run club at North School take part in a relay race exercise around the school on Monday afternoon. The girls raced to make construction paper chains as part of lesson on the importance of teamwork. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)
Alexis and her 14 new friends, all fourth- and fifth-graders at the Londonderry elementary school, have trouble containing their enthusiasm when talking about their newest passion - running.
As part of the school's new Girls on the Run club, the girls practice two afternoons each week.
Girls on the Run is a statewide program that culminates in a spring 5K race at the N.H. Technical Institute in Concord next month. More than 700 girls from around the state are expected to participate.
Assistant Principal Jill Connors learned about the program through her niece, who participated at her school in Manchester. Connors, who has a passion for running herself, said she knew right away she wanted to form a club at her school.
After Connors contacted Betsy Cissel, the state program coordinator, the club began meeting earlier this spring.
Cissel said the program's mission is not only to encourage healthy lifestyles but also "to inspire girls to be joyful and confident."
While some of the club members are already active in local sports, others are new to exercise in general.
This seems to be the case in most of the Granite State school districts that have adopted the program.
"Usually we see a pretty good mix of first-timers and experienced athletes," Cissel said.
Locally, Londonderry's Matthew Thornton School has a GOTR team, as do several schools in Windham.
Cissel said the most satisfying part of her job is seeing the impact the program has had on the young girls it serves.
"Sometimes they'll come up to me a year later, they'll tell me how they were able to handle a bullying situation or a problem with a sibling," Cissel said. "Their enthusiasm is contagious."
Fourth-grader Myah Teague demonstrated some of that enthusiasm.
"My mom wanted me to spend more time outside, and I'm glad I did," she said.
Classmate Charlotte Sullivan said running has given her "more energy for soccer and lacrosse," while Shannon Walen said the program has helped her with endurance and speed on the field.
Alex Perry said she doesn't typically play sports but decided to join the club "to try something new."
Lilly Farrington said she "still can't believe she's going to be running a 5K," while Christa Kimball said she joined the club to help her make new friends after moving to Londonderry from Nashua.
"Before I started Girls on the Run, I didn't run very fast at all," added classmate Audrey Gagnon. "Now I'm one of the fastest girls on the track."
READER COMMENTS: 2
- Pat Buchanan: The high price of papal popularity - 0
- Kathy Sullivan: Scott Brown does not get what 'pro-choice' really means - 13
- Deroy Murdock: Scott Brown's good case for a Republican Senate - 1
- Jonah Goldberg: Rise of the Clinton Democrats (not really) - 0
- Your Turn, NH -- Kelley Tambouris: I am a Manchester teacher, and I need more support - 21
- Political correctness could wind up killing a lot of Americans - 4
- Charles Krauthammer: Ebola vs. civil liberties - 0
- Wayne F. Lesperance Jr.: Republicans are poised to win the Senate... maybe - 3
- George Will: The fictitious war on women - 0
- Salem mall renovations on target - 0
- Another View -- John H. Sununu: Voters, pick a governor who is serious about the Pledge - 3
- Team Obama: Faking right, voting left - 12
- Preventing riots: What should Keene do? - 1
- Manchester mayor asks aldermen to hold abandonded property owners accountable - 0
- Residents given Londonderry playing field priority - 0
- NH has 1,300 guardrail ends targeted in federal safety suit - 1
- Carignan promoted to deputy police chief in Nashua - 0
- Manchester Crimewatch: Meat cleaver has key role in threats, assault case - 0
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon to care for any potential NH Ebola patients, state announcesREADER COMMENTS: 0
Locked in a dead heat, Shaheen, Brown spar
NH's back-road rest areas fading away
Team Obama: Faking right, voting left
Keene riots a focus of gubernatorial debate
Preventing riots: What should Keene do?