Home Local News Mineral Springs Elementary School Builds “Daily Mile Trail” as New Health Initiative

Mineral Springs Elementary School Builds “Daily Mile Trail” as New Health Initiative

Dr. Kate Smith (center) prepares to cut the ribbon of Mineral Springs Elementary's new "Daily Mile" trail.
Photo courtesy of Crystal Mac.

ELLERBE – Kindergarteners and first graders at Mineral Springs Elementary School are now walking the “Daily Mile,” a new initiative to promote healthy living in schools.  

In celebration, the school held a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday morning at the trail, located at 1426 Green Lake Road in Ellerbe. The new walking trail circles the playground, and all kindergarten and first grade students were present for the event. 

Before cutting the ribbon, Principal Dr. Kate Smith introduced and recognized all of the partners to the students who made the Daily Mile possible at their school. 

“These are the ladies who made this possible and we want to give them a big round of applause,” Smith said as she introduced the partners.

The ladies included, Dr. Cindy Goodman, Superintendent of Richmond County Schools, Roxanne Elliot, Director of Policy at FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Nellie Harrington, Physical Education teacher at Mineral Springs and Dr. Wendy Jordan, a member of Richmond County Schools’ central office staff. 

The Daily Mile is a program that has its roots in the United Kingdom. It is designed to encourage students to walk, run, or jog a mile each day at school. The Daily Mile began in 2012, and has since made its way across the Atlantic to the United States, with schools in Montgomery and Richmond counties being the first schools in the states to adopt the program. 

The Daily Mile takes 15 minutes of each day, outside of recess and gym class, with the goal that elementary students will walk, run, or jog a full mile. Studies show that it not only improves physical fitness, but the overall social, mental and emotional health of the students. It also increases focus and the student’s potential to learn, therefore test scores; a “win-win” for both students and teachers, according to Elliot. 

The project came about after a grant was awarded by the Duke Endowment Fund for $450,000 to the Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas. Richmond and Montgomery counties decided to implement the program in their elementary schools. 

The program was phased in October of last year with Star Elementary of Montgomery County and Monroe Avenue Elementary of Richmond County being amongst the first. The plan is to build walking trails at 13 schools in total in Richmond and Montgomery counties. 

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Dr. Goodman expressed to the students the importance of the Daily Mile. 

“FirstHealth wants our students to be physically fit, and as your superintendent, I know that physically fit students are happier students and better learners,” she says. 

 “I’ve been here to see some of you walk your Daily Mile, and a lot of you like to run it,” Goodman added. “I’ve even seen the teaching staff get involved, and that makes me happy as well.”

Elliot expressed her excitement to the students of Richmond County being a pioneer in the Daily Mile initiative. 

“What makes this more important is that Richmond County was the first in the United States of America to do this program, and now Richmond County has set the example for other states and counties,” Elliot said.

The students received the messages with excitement and enthusiasm and after the ribbon cutting, commenced to walk, jog, run and race their Daily Mile. 

Last week, the project was awarded $10,000 from the Richmond Hospital Foundation and $35,000 from the Richmond Community Foundation in efforts to complete the trails. 

FirstHealth’s goal, in the words of Elliot, is, “changing the culture, one step at a time.” 

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