Project ACES set for May 1

PARKERSBURG – An event billed as the world’s largest exercise class will take place across the nation on May 1, including in Parkersburg.

Project ACES (All Children Exercise Simultaneously) began in New Jersey in 1989 after a teacher, Len Saunders, wanted to get one school in every state to exercise simultaneously on a specific day in May. He wanted to motivate his physical education classes to exercise.

The event will take place at Madison Elementary School in Parkersburg starting around 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 1.

Students across the globe will walk, jog, bike, dance, do aerobics or a combination of these to stay active.

Each assembly, including the local one, will last 30 to 45 minutes, officials said.

Susan Tebay, marketing executive at Mountain River Physical Therapy in Parkersburg, said the company teamed with its partner in education, Madison Elementary School, for the event. Athletic trainer Allison Burner said she came across the idea online and decided it would be a great fit for the company to participate in.

“We are focused on sports performance,” said Tebay. “It’s a good fit for us and we like being involved in the community.”

Joe Leaman, ATC director of sports medicine for Mountain River, and Burner will administer the physical fitness fun, Tebay said. Officials with the school will be there to offer assistance to the students participating.

If the weather is bad, school officials have a back-up plan to conduct the exercise in the school gymnasium.

Tebay said Madison Elementary School principal Esther Lauderman has been appreciative and cooperative for the organization of the event.

Tebay said she hopes Lauderman and others will persuade other local schools in the area to participate.