St. Clare School photo
Sophie Hawkins, Gillian O'Brien and Hudson Cree take part in the 100 Mile Club at St. Clare School.
St. Clare School photo
Sophie Hawkins, Gillian O'Brien and Hudson Cree take part in the 100 Mile Club at St. Clare School.
St. Clare School in Southwest Portland has a new way to keep students fit.

Last summer, St. Clare became one of a thousand U.S. schools to be awarded a grant from the Active Schools Acceleration Project. The grants were developed in collaboration with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move! Active Schools” Initiative. The money allowed St. Clare to begin the 100 Mile Club, an after school walking and running group designed to teach children fitness and life skills.

Members go outside the classroom to work on individual fitness goals, celebrate one another and enjoy each other’s company.

Officials say active students do better in the classroom.

This school year’s group meets Fridays, rain or shine, for interested students in grades 2-5 along with their coaches, Melissa Cree and Carol Glasgow. Students wear pedometers and track their activity during weekly meetings. They also are encouraged to wear them during recess and catalog daily activity. For every 25 miles of activity, participants earn awards along with a sense of accomplishment.

“We had a great deal of interest this year, and hope to expand it next year to include more grades and children,” says Cree, St. Clare physical education teacher and author of the grant proposal.