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Although playing hockey in school hallways might usually land a student in the principal’s office, parents and teachers encouraged, and even joined in the fun at Marshall Elementary Magnet School’s family fitness night Wednesday night.

The event, which featured 33 local fitness businesses and groups, allowed kids and parents to try different activities, like tennis, soccer, yoga and dance to see if a new activity might be right for them.

John Mathews said his 12-year-old stepson was interested in trying different fitness activities, and was enthusiastic about a sport he had never tried before.

“He’s been really interested in the tennis,” Mathews said.

The event, which drew about 150 visitors, was the second of its kind at Mar shall and was organized by members of the PTO.

“Everyone who lives in Flagstaff wants to live a healthy life,” said PTO co-president April Gabaldon. “Every school does a STEM night, but we wanted to do something different, so we decided to have a fitness night.”

Gabaldon said the first fitness night, last year, drew about 20 fitness businesses and organizations and had about 80 visitors.

“It’s definitely growing, in community partners participating and in family members attending,” she said.

The night was divided into 20-minute sessions to allow the students and parents to rotate through different activities and stations, which included information on healthy snacks, the environment and health care, as well as sports and physical activities.

The event was spread through the school including games and activities inside the classrooms and hallways. In one classroom, students could be seen getting tennis lessons. In another, kids and parents were running through agility drills.

One of the organizations at the event, Girls on the Run, was there promoting running as a fun activity for girls.

“We are here for two reasons,” said Marney Babbitt, the council director. “We want to let people know they can bring Girls on the Run to their school, and to get Marshall girls involved in Girls on the Run.”

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Babbitt said students had been excited to talk with her and the other organizations at the event.

“It’s cool to see parents working out with their kids,” Gabaldon said. “Usually it’s the kids doing a sport and parents watching, but this is for the whole family.”

PTO member John Tingerthal said organizing the event included a lot of cold-calls to fitness organizations in the community, like club sports teams or recreational activities.

Tingerthal said the students arriving were excited about all kinds of activities, including aerial arts, swimming, dance and soccer.

“When we contacted people in the community, they were really excited to be able to do this,” Tingerthal said.

All organizations at the event have local branches, including many locally run fitness and health organizations.

“It’s exciting to see so many people coming out, both parents and families and our community partners,” Tingerthal said.

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The reporter can be reached at or 556-2249.</&box_em>


City Government and Development Reporter

Corina Vanek covers city government, city growth and development for the Arizona Daily Sun.

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