St. Joseph earns top spot in Kids Run Arkansas event

St. Joseph School had the top participation this year in the Ninth Annual Kids Run Arkansas.

The event, held April 21 at Laurel Park in Conway, including a 1- and 3-mile fun run/walk. It was sponsored by Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center and promotes physical activity and wellness for children and youth in Central Arkansas.

Schools with the largest participation win scholarships for physical education.

For the eighth year in a row, that honor went to St. Joseph School with 244 entrants. The school will receive $2,000 which will be used by the school’s elementary and middle school physical education department.

P.E. teacher Karen Vandivere organized St. Joseph’s involvement in the run.

  St. Joseph fourth-graders Keirsten Nutt (from left), Lindsay Morrison and Ava Piraino.

“When we reflect on why St. Joseph School has had the highest participation in Kids Run Arkansas for the past eight years, we must consider that our K-6 P.E. teacher, Karen Vandivere, has made running fun for our students,” said Nicole Rappold, development director for St. Joseph. “Each year, we have an after-school running club and our middle school students participate in a 26.2 mile Fun Run throughout the school year. For our students, running isn’t a chore; it’s fun and rewarding. So each year when Mrs. Vandivere mentions Kids Run Arkansas and passes out forms, our students are eager to participate. Also, Mrs. Vandivere assists parents in turning their forms in so it is not an inconvenience for the parents.

“In addition to the diligent work of Mrs. Vandivere, our families do everything they can to support the school. We had whole families participating – preschool students to high school juniors and parents. This was truly a family event for St. Joseph School, where our families could spend healthy time together in a way that can benefit the school.”

Fourth grade teacher Nicole Gooch with her preschool-aged son, Cameron, and his classmate, Drew Nabholz.

Rappold said that having the highest participation for the last eight years speaks volumes about the school and its community support. “St. Joseph School families are involved in the community and participate in community events. They love being a part of the bigger whole and they strive to model healthy choices for their children. Kids Run Arkansas is a perfect opportunity to do that. St. Joseph families are also committed to St. Joseph School and our programs. We are appreciative of Conway Regional Fitness Center for the opportunity to receive scholarship money for our physical education programs.”

In the past, Kids Run proceeds have been used to purchase an array of items for physical education, including parachutes, volleyball and hockey nets, playground equipment, jump ropes, soccer balls, basketballs, kick balls, footballs, baseballs and bats.

“St. Joseph School agrees with Conway Regional Fitness Center’s mission to promote heathy lifestyles in children and families through physical activity,” Rappold said. “St. Joseph School will use the $2,000 proceeds received from this year’s Kids Run to further encourage our students and families to remain active and healthy and to foster an environment of positive physical fitness.”