Cedar Springs — A sea of middle-level students watched with excitement as their classmates loaded up sprayers with slime and eyed a row of teachers to choose a target during the finale of the annual Fitnesspalooza event.
Sliming a teacher was a reward for Middle School and Red Hawk Intermediate students who raised the most money during their fitness-focused fundraiser.
Fitnesspalooza was developed to fund student activities, celebrations for multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) and positive behavioral interventions and support (PBIS) work, and to emphasize that exercise can be fun and rewarding, benefiting students in school and elsewhere.
“Exercise can give us a more clear brain and can help prepare us to become better learners in the classroom,” said sixth-grade science teacher Venessa Andersen. “Fitnesspalooza helps to take this idea a step further and provides students with fun and engaging exercise opportunities.”
The event also helps everyone get acclimated to the new school year, fostering friendships and classroom community, Andersen said.
“Building climate and culture between staff and students to help boost student success is one of the top priorities of the middle level,” she said. “We kick off Fitnesspalooza at the start of each school year, allowing for a chance for immediate student-to-student connections and staff-to-student connections to happen.”
During the event, students participated in exercise activities like dancing, dodgeball, a Red Hawk Walk around the school grounds and a ‘Would You Rather?’ game that “displays that exercise does not have to be dull, but rather a fun activity that can be done with friends or by yourself anywhere you go,” Andersen said.
Building Community, With Slime
Then came the slime. Sliming honors went to students who raised $60 or more.
The teachers, lined up and wrapped in protective plastic, braced themselves as students decided who would get sprayed. Sixth-grade teacher Jason Majerle was a popular pick.
“I couldn’t stop smiling when I slimed Mr. Majerle in the face because it scared him and it was really funny,” said sixth-grader Elise Park.
Sixth-grader Zyan Maki, who also slimed Majerle, would “love the opportunity to do it again next year.”
In addition to the high earners who got to slime teachers, students also took home Scholastic gift cards, Red Hawk T-shirts and various other prizes.
Students like seventh-grader Carter Benoit said they had a blast.
“I liked it when the teachers got slimed a lot and I really enjoyed the walking because it is good exercise,” Carter said, adding that “dodgeball was epic.”
“I love the hype of Fitnesspalooza,” said seventh-grader Abby VanHorn. “I enjoyed the competition between classrooms.”
Andersen said the students in grades 6-8 raised a total of $11,912 during the event.
“These funds go directly back to the student body and will be used toward field trips, hosting future events such as school dances and pancake breakfasts, MTSS and PBIS classroom rewards, spirit wear, future half-day celebrations … and so much more,” she said.
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