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Grant helps fund running club, boosts physical fitness at Kenney Middle School

With a focus on fitness, the Dennis M. Kenney Middle School Physical Education Department recently secured a $3,500 grant to continue the running club that was established last year.

Seventh grade students at Dennis M. Kenney Middle School join physical education teachers Dan Pawlewicz and Penny Leonard and district administrators as the group accepts a running club grant from Voya representative Rob Sylvester.
Seventh grade students at Dennis M. Kenney Middle School join physical education teachers Dan Pawlewicz and Penny Leonard and district administrators as the group accepts a running club grant from Voya representative Rob Sylvester.

The funds, which are part of the Voya Run For Something Better School Awards program, will provide Hannibal middle school students with a chance to get their heart rates pumping during various cardio exercises after school.

The fitness activities are based on the National Standards for Physical Education and encourage healthy habits to reduce the childhood obesity rate.

From left, Hannibal Central School District Superintendent Donna Fountain, middle school physical education teacher Penny Leonard and middle school Principal Dee Frio accept a plaque and a grant from Voya representative Robert Sylvester. The $3,500 grant (one of only 60 awarded in the nation) will help fund an after-school running club at the middle school.
From left, Hannibal Central School District Superintendent Donna Fountain, middle school physical education teacher Penny Leonard and middle school Principal Dee Frio accept a plaque and a grant from Voya representative Robert Sylvester. The $3,500 grant (one of only 60 awarded in the nation) will help fund an after-school running club at the middle school.

“The philosophy of the running program is that students are diverse and individuals that have different needs,” said DMK physical education teacher Penny Leonard, who applied for the grant. “Students will set, monitor and adjust personal fitness goals. The benefits of this program include building physical strength, increasing self-confidence and increasing academic success.”

As one of only 60 schools in the nation to receive the grant, Leonard noted that she was grateful for the funds and that this provides a much-needed outlet for DMK students.

“There are limited opportunities for students to engage in structured and thoughtful physical activity, however, the funds from this grant will allow us to provide such an opportunity,” she said.