Conte school students, staff hold turkey trot to promote wellness

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PITTSFIELD -- Students and staff at Conte Community School got a racing start to their Thanksgiving festivities on Tuesday.

Nearly 450 people walked, dashed and occasionally jumped around the school for its first mile-long turkey trot.

The event was organized by the school's new principal, Anna-Stina Wardlaw, and physical education teacher James Hespler, and sponsored by Balancing the Equation, a Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant. It served as a fun way to promote a school-wide sense of wellness, movement and positive school spirit.

The school grounds looked particularly well-groomed, due to mulching and bulb planting done recently by the West Side Neighborhood Initiative.

School cafeteria director Bonnie Connors prepared healthy snacks for the event, including fresh-cut vegetables, fruit and dip. Some of the produce used was harvested from the school's garden.

The school has offered a number of wellness-related events this year, which is among the school district's goals. On Friday, for example, students performed choreography they learned through a residency program led by Jacob's Pillow Dance in Becket.

"The benefits to things like this are multi-faceted," said Wardlaw, who listed good nutritional and fitness choices as long-term outcomes.

"But in general, it's fun for everybody to be participating in the same thing together with everyone cheering one another on," she said.


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