By TAYLOR HARTZ
Kids across the map were active on the morning of May 5, taking part in the YMCA’s annual event, “All Children Exercise Simultaneously” (ACES.)
Started in 1989, the ACES program aims to get millions of children out of their classroom seats and onto their feet at the same time each year. Schools across Southington joined in the challenge last week, doing everything from A to Z, aerobics to Zumba.
The goal of the program is to combat childhood obesity and eliminate risk factors of heart disease, by encouraging children to fight back against unhealthy habits, according to the YMCA. It is organized locally by Activate Southington, the Board of Education, and the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA.
John Meyers, Executive Director of the YMCA, said he thinks the annual event is beneficial to students. “We have to get kids into the habit of moving,” he said.
Diane Botsacos from Activate Southington said the administration and faculty have welcomed the program with open arms. All Southington schools and many local businesses were invited to join in exercising on May 5, by walking, jumping, or even forming a flash mob.
At Derynoski Elementary School, students and teachers filled the gymnasium for a Zumba class, a dance workout, led by Alyson Grisham, who teaches at the YMCA.
“This is just symbolic for kids everywhere,” said Botsacos cheering on a room full of first and third graders. “All over the country, everyone is reminding everyone we have got to keep moving. We have to move, move, move.”
Activate Southington encourages students to get as much exercise as possible. The program offers training for teachers, so they can lead students in different physical activities during class.
“They spend too much time indoors, and they spend too much time on their electronics,” said Botsacos, “so we’re trying to get them to understand the key to exercise.”
Derynoski Principal Jan Verderame participated in the Zumba class alongside students and reminded them to fit exercise and outdoor play into their daily schedules.
“This is symbolic of everything you should do every day at home,” said Verderame who also told students they should encourage their relatives, friends, and neighbors to be more active.
Photos by TAYLOR HARTZ
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