Local students join exercise effort

PARKERSBURG -Several hundred students at Madison Elementary School joined children from all over the world Wednesday afternoon to take part in an event billed as the “World’s Largest Exercise Class.”

Close to 350 students in first-through-fifth grades participated in drills Wednesday led by Mountain River Physical Therapy trainer Allison Burner. The program is part of the annual All Children Exercise Simultaneously (ACES) Day.

Burner came across the event -now in its 25th year -online and decided it would be a great fit for the company. Susan Tebay, marketing executive at Mountain River Physical Therapy in Parkersburg, said they teamed with Madison Elementary School, their Partner in Education.

Madison Elementary School Principal Esther Lauderman said this is their first year participating in the ACES program and their second year partnering with Mountain River. In addition to being a Partner in Education with Madison, Mountain River also provides athletic trainers for county teams and events.

“They have been an outstanding partner for us,” Lauderman said, noting the company also hosts the school’s academic banquet each spring.

Students spent about a half hour outside exercising. Led by Burner they performed jumping jacks, squats, pushups and lunges as well as a variety of warmup and stretching exercises. Burner was assisted by Jared Summers, Jonathan Rodriguez and Cody Nutter. Lauderman and her staff were also involved.

Joe Leaman, ATC director of sports medicine for Mountain River, said they wanted to “test the waters” with Madison and if successful try to incorporate the program countywide.

Lauderman said students have been anticipating the event for several weeks. They were excited to take part, along with students from 50 other countries.

They were surprised by Nutter, a former Parkersburg South and West Virginia University football player, Lauderman said.

“It’s great for students,” she said.

Lauderman said teachers at Madison try to focus students on achieving their hopes and dreams. She said Nutter is an example of that.

“Through hard work and dedication anything can happen,” she said.