More than 200 kindergarten through eighth-grade students from St. Monica Elementary School in Santa Monica will hit the ground running Friday, May 12th, for Jog-A-Thon 2006.

Now, in its 19th year, Jog-A-Thon helps raise money to fund new classroom technology, while also supporting the school’s commitment to teaching students the importance of good nutrition and physical exercise.

The Jog-A-Thon event will be divided into two 40-minute sessions — kindergarten through fourth grade and fifth through eighth grade.

During each session, students will spend 30 minutes jogging around a miniature track that will be set up on the school’s playground.

Student council members will log each student’s total number of completed laps. Parents will staff the water stations and pass out sliced oranges to the students to keep them hydrated and energized.

A few parents will also participate with the students. There will be a ten-minute warmup before the event, as well as a ten-minute cool-down period.

Prior to the event, students will solicit pledges of a specific amount per lap, as well as fixed donations from family, friends and community members. Following Jog-A-Thon, the students will take their official forms, with their logged number of laps, and collect their donations.

Event organizers expect Jog-A-Thon to raise between $7,500 and $9,500. All proceeds will be used to fund new technology in the classrooms. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $108,000.

In addition to serving as a fundraiser, the Jog-A-Thon is a vital part of promoting schoolwide learning expectations for good nutrition and health, according to St. Monica Elementary principal Joan Morris.

“In order for our school to receive its proper accreditations, we have to adhere to a set of (schoolwide learning expectations) that cover areas including spirituality, intellect, confidence, social integration and physical awareness,” Morris said.

“Jog-A-Thon is a perfect event to teach students firsthand about the importance of physical well-being and regular exercise.

“We also make it a family event, with the parents integrally involved, so these practices will continue beyond the classroom and into the homes.”

Jog-A-Thon is a voluntary event. Students pay a $15 registration fee and receive a commemorative T-shirt.

Information, (310) 451-9801.

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