Allie Rush, 9, a fourth-grader, juggles with her mom Melissa Gatchet during conferences at Helen Haller Elementary to demonstrate how the Heart Tech Plus program works. It’s one of the programs the school’s PTO is raising funds for at the Turkey Trot. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Helen Haller does the Turkey Trot

Hundreds of students at Helen Haller Elementary, 350 W. Fir St., are doing a Turkey Trot the day before Thanksgiving.

They’ll walk, run, skip and ride bikes at the nearby track as a fundraiser for various new programs in the school on Nov. 23.

Volunteers with the Parent Teacher Organization, PTO, set a goal of $12,000 and set up a partnership with online pledge site The Get Movin Crew at www.thegetmovincrew.com to bring in support.

One of those programs, Heart Tech Plus, already is in use as a pilot program in physical education classes for grades 3-5.

Holly Thornton, physical education teacher for the school, said she’s been using it to talk to students about their hearts as they wear the system and it monitors their heart rate, steps, calories burned and more.

“It gets kids excited about their hearts and gives them a better understanding of what they’re doing,” she said.

Each student’s stats are put on a screen and Thornton said she can set goals and challenges.

“It’s a really great way for me to look at a kid and have something to measure their effort,” she said.

Several students showed their parents during conferences the monitors including first-grader Corbyn Lovell who said the program is “awesome.”

Melissa Gatchet said her daughter Allie Rush, a fourth-grader, talks about the program all the time, too.

The program is on loan through January unless the PTO raises enough funds for the approximate $5,000 program.

Shenna Younger, PTO fundraising chairman, said the Turkey Trot is similar to their previous fun run events, which raised $5,800 last year, but they’re looking to raise more to do more this year.

One program they want to support includes providing six books before summer for each student to read and keep, Younger said.

“The PTO also wants to establish an account for teachers to request supplies, so they don’t have to pay for it out of pocket,” she said.

Depending on how much is raised at the Turkey Trot, PTO members will vote at their December meeting on a course of funding.

For the Turkey Trot, organizers focused more on fundraising totals over how many laps students can do, Younger said, because they wanted students of all abilities to be able to participate equally.

Heart Tech is bringing bikes for students with special needs so they can either pedal with their feet or hands.

Students also are seeking out turkey tickets for different accomplishments such as reaching fundraising goals and getting classmates involved.

Those tickets go toward a drawing for classroom prizes and the top fundraiser receives a ride to school in a fire truck. Principal Rebecca Stanton will wear a turkey costume at the event if they raise $12,000.

Annually, the PTO also provides stockings with toys and goodies for in-need students, yearbooks, movie and bingo nights and more.

Support is ongoing and checks can be mailed to Helen Haller PTO, 350 W. Fir St., Sequim, WA, 98382. For questions, email SequimHHEPTO@gmail.com or call 582-3200.

Brent and his son Corbyn Lovell, 6, a first grader at Helen Haller Elementary, ride scooter boards to get their heart rate and step count up as part of a new program, Heart Tech Plus, that monitors that for the students while they participate in physical education. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Physical Education teacher Holly Thornton at Helen Haller Elementary talks with Corbyn Lovell about the Heart Tech Plus monitors. She said the program is a good way to measure student effort in class and talk about their hearts. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

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