This week’s Whiz kids are Danvers fifth grade students who competed in the First Annual 1 Mile Road Race sponsored by the Thorpe School PAC, and hosted by . These six youngsters are the top three finishers in each of their divisions in the boys and girls races.
Jared McPherson and Ian Paskowski, both students from , and Matt Brennan from , were the top finishers for the fifth grade boys; Savannah Demsey, Reagan O’Shea and Hailey Parodies Hathaway finished in the top three for the fifth grade girls.
The kids had been participating in a four day a week/six week long school-wide running club program this fall, which culminated in the friendly race held at the Thorpe track on November 15th.
According to Thorpe School P.E. Instructor Jennifer Mscisz, the running club was born out of the idea to institute an after school program that was fitness oriented, and social: something the kids could do with their friends, and largely non-competitive, where they set personal goals. The running clubs are open to grades 3-5 and run in the fall and spring season.
“We had parents and teachers come out to run with the kids over the six weeks, which was great to show them that people of all ages get out there and excercise," Mscisz said. "It’s something that is a lifelong lesson, that they can take with them."
At the end of the six week fall session, Mscisz invited other schools in Danvers to participate in a race, opting to call it the First Annual 1 Mile Road Race, with hopes the event will be embraced by the town-wide school community and indeed become an annual event.
This year and accepted, and with over 70 total racers, Mscisz said it was a sucess.
“It was great, we had over 200 people here that day-parents, teachers, kids, and Great Oak Coaches Shawn Gilmartin and Michael Mazzaro; it was an overwhelming success,” she said. “Great Oak Principal Matt Fusco took tons of pictures, and (Riverside School) Principal Violetta Powers actually ran the race with the kids. I had the music blaring at the start and finish lines, and was in charge of the bullhorn-it was so much fun!”
Because Thorpe School hosted the event, the Thorpe PAC lent a tremendous amount of support to the event, and according to Mscisz, the event would not have been possible without them.
“PAC had healthy snacks for the runners after the event, and parents and teachers from the school lined the race route to encourage and cheer on the runners, and also to provide a safe and fun atmosphere,” she said.
All students who participated in the race received certificates of completion for a job well done, with the top placing runners receiving special acknowledgment for their impressive times. “These kids worked hard for six weeks, and were so proud to be able to show how they’d progressed,” said Mscisz.
While Riverside School Principal Violetta Powers is looking into starting up a running club for her students next year, Great Oak Principal Mathew Fusco is already looking forward to a rematch saying, "We’ll host it in the spring, and we’re excited to host it. Hopefully we’ll get all the schools to join in the fun!” Powers agreed that a fun time was had by all, and added, "It was a first experience for Riverside and to be invited was an honor, so we were excited to join and do somethig new and different."
Whiz Kids: Savannah Demsey, Reagan O’Shea and Hailey Parodies Hathaway; Jared McPherson, Ian Paskowski, and Matt Brennan
Whiz Kids School/Grade: Great Oak and Thorpe-All 5th Grade
Whiz Kids Accomplishment: Top Finishers in 1st Annual 1 Mile Road Race in their Division
Whiz Kids Keys To Success:
I like racing and competing, especially against the boys!~Savannah Demsey
Teachers and friends encourage you and push you to not stop.~Reagan O'Shea
Jared is the youngest of four, with three athletic older siblings. He is also a very good athlete and has found a sport to call his own. He has excelled at running and has come to love the sport!
~ Maria McPherson
I listen to my coaches and my dad. I never give up even when it hurts. ~ Ian Paskowski
"I like running with my friends on our Thorpe track." ~Matthew Brennan
Whiz Kids Advise To Others:
Try hard and have the courage to just do it. ~Savannah Demsey
Other kids should do it! ~Reagan O'Shea
Find something you love and stay with it! ~ Jared McPherson
Be a leader. Believe in yourself. Train hard. ~ Ian Paskowski
I would advise all kids my age to join the running club to stay healthy, become strong, and challenge yourself. ~Matt Brennan