Fourth-grader Sherlyn Herrera and her Spartan Skippers teammates cheered as they watched a group of jump roping champions excite the students of Union Intermediate School.
“We can accomplish that goal by practicing more and start focusing on what we should do,” Sherlyn said with a smile after the performance. “They’re very fast and powerful — we’ll accomplish our goals by doing that one day.”
The Super Skippers, a team who won four straight national titles visited the school Monday for its wellness event, “Jumping for Joy – Jumping into Fitness.”
Tanya Robinson-Freeman, health and physical education teacher, organized the event to introduce students to activities they’re not used to.
“I wanted the kids to think more about making lifestyle choices that are physically active, but don’t cost a lot of money,” Robinson-Freeman said about activities such as walking. “You can enjoy the environment as you’re walking and physical activity gets your heart rate up and allows you to maintain a decent body weight.”
Perla Gomez, a fourth-grade student and member of the Spartan Skippers, was also inspired by the visit.
“The Super Skippers are awesome and one day our team, Spartan Skippers will be awesome as they are,”Perla said.
“They were really cool and awesome and one day after we do a lot of practicing, our team can accomplish that goal and be like how they are,” said Katelyn Chestnutt, a team member and fifth-grader.
The competitive jump rope team from Cary began in 1994 and participates in regional, national, and international competitions. Members promote physical fitness through jump roping and encourage confidence, discipline, responsibility and leadership. The Super Skippers are associated with the YMCA of Cary and 70 members are on the team.
Liz Fortunato, president of the Super Skippers’ parent organization, and other members of the team enjoyed visiting Union Intermediate School.
“The kids are excited about it,” Fortunato said about promoting the sport of of jump rope. “We love it and the kids have a lot of fun doing it.”
In addition to the Super Skippers, the students also received presentations and lessons in Taekwondo, line dancing, dental health and yoga through organizations such as The Walking Classroom and the Sampson County Health Department. Local recreation officials also participated. She hopes it becomes an annual event at Union Intermediate.
“Overall, I heard the kids tell me how much they enjoyed it and that they really had a lot of fun,” Robinson-Freeman said. “I heard from the other teachers that a lot of the boys were excited about the Taekwondo classes. There was a lot of positive feedback.”
Monday’s activity was made possible through a grant from Simple Gifts, which grants to local teachers who create educational projects that go beyond classroom instruction.
“It’s something that I hold really near and dear to my heart,” Robinson-Freeman said. “I’ve been jumping rope since I was in the sixth grade and as a child, I jumped competitively all the way up to high school. This is something that I really enjoy and have a passion for.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.