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Morgan Elementary schoolers stomp out summer boredom

BY KATIE PAXTON kpaxton@paducahsun.com

Morgan Elementary School students are making the most of their summer break at Coach Ford's Club, a day camp focused on developing children's fitness, reading level and community involvement.

The club evolved from the "Read, Right, Run" program by the non-profit organization Go! St. Louis, which encourages families and children to pursue a healthy lifestyle year round.

Andy Ford, a physical education teacher at Morgan Elementary, hosts the camp with weekly meetings throughout the summer.

"I wanted it to last all summer instead of it being done all in one week," he said.

Similar to the "Read, Right, Run" program, Coach Ford's Club incorporates the school's resources to challenge students' reading skills and do what is right for the community, all while being physically active.

"I'm a firm believer that physical activity kick-starts the brain," Ford said.

Students take advantage of access to books in the school library, and take Accelerated Reading tests to boost their reading comprehension. In addition, they plan events within the community, such as picking weeds out of the school's Giving Garden and arranging a community car wash. Tuesday the students hosted "Can Stomp," during which they stomped and recycled aluminum cans collected by the staff and students since the end of the school year.

Emari Milliken, 9, said his favorite part of the camp is reading and doing activities like stomping the cans. He also participated in the six-month "Read, Right, Run" program.

Richard Foster, 6, also enjoys the camp's resources, like playing games on the school's iPads.

"I really need to give a shout out to the Morgan Elementary Family Resource Center and (its coordinator) Mr. Donta Tyler," said Ford. "None of this would be possible without them."

Contact Katie Paxton, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8655.

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