It might've seemed like an ordinary jog-a-thon was happening at Longfellow Middle School Tuesday morning.
However, the school gave the event its own unique flavor, creating the "Longfellow Olympic Fun Run," which emphasized fitness, good health and teamwork.
The event consisted of different grades taking turns running, jogging or walking at the field on campus. School faculty also put obstacles on the field, giving the event an Olympic atmosphere. Every homeroom group in each grade created their own "country" that they represented, complete with a country flag that each homeroom helped create on their own.
The students were responsible for helping raise money for the event. Students were challenged to be creative with their fundraising efforts, with some students offering to mow lawns or do odd jobs. Students who raised more than $25 were entered to win a prize provided by Speeding Bullet Comics, and other prizes were given to the homerooms that raised the most money. School officials said the students raised a total of $8,000 for the event.
Longfellow Principal Stephanie Williams said everyone at the school was filled with anticipation prior to the Olympic Fun Run.
"This event means a lot to the school," Williams said. "Not only are the kids getting to have fun and get to be active, but they get to see the staff out here having fun and cheering them on. And it's nice to do something outside of education every now and then."
The Norman and Longfellow Parent/Teacher Associations donated a grant to the school to help fund the event with supplies. The funds raised for the event will be used for classroom supplies and field trips.
The focus of the event was to promote teamwork and health. Norman Mayor Breea Clark said she would like to see all of the district schools consider hosting events like Longfellow's.
"I think the focus on fitness and being healthy is really important, especially for middle school students," Clark said. "Middle school students go through a lot of changes, so it's important to have these good habits and to focus on being active."
At the beginning of the event, each "country" was introduced and walked out onto the field holding the flag they created. At the end of the event, each country held their flags high to symbolize the closing ceremonies at Olympic events.
Annette Price, president of Longfellow PTA, said the event is something the school district wants to continue in the future.
"This was a real community effort," Price said. "I know the kids have had a lot of fun and the teachers were really excited planning the event. It was a fun way to put our own twist on a jog-a-thon. We really appreciate everyone that helped us put on this event."