By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – For one minute, the Milam Elementary School students hopped onto and off of a round metal weight on the floor in front of them.
Next, they sprinted ahead to three medicine balls and tried to successfully toss them into a large cylindrical trash can.
The activity is one of many the class of 11 special education students have attempted since September. They’re training hard for the upcoming Special Olympics.
“It teaches them good sportsmanship, working together, cheering each other on and physical fitness,” said their teacher, Kathryn Marcy.
Marcy became a member of CrossFit Tupelo during the summer and asked the workout facility’s owner John Prince if he would help her students train for the Special Olympics, which will be held Friday in Pontotoc. He agreed.
Bimonthly during the fall and monthly since January, they have visited CrossFit, which recently moved into the back of the Block Corporation building on West Main Street near Ballard Park.
Prince leads them in various exercises for about two hours during each session.
“Everything thing we do is scalable, so this is a great opportunity to help kids not only in play, but also in life,” Prince said.
During the Special Olympics, the students will participate in such events as the 100-meter dash, horseshoe toss and standing long jump.
Prince has developed various activities, such as having the students warm up by waddling like a duck or hopping like a frog.
He’s had them race and given them pointers on their form.
“I feel like I’ll be faster,” said sixth-grader Dee Crowe.
Marcy said the students have been enthusiastic about the workouts.
“I love seeing them cheer each other on, and they are all excited to see each other have success,” she said.
More photos in today’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.