The rainy day was not a good sign. After having to cancel last year’s Project ACES event due to weather, Miller Elementary Principal Betsy Smith didn’t want to disappoint her students again. So, although it was a little cramped, more than 320 first and second graders filled up the gymnasium for the 2012 Project ACES on Wednesday.
Project ACES stands for All Children Exercise Simultaneously. Each May, on a designated date and time, millions of school children from all 50 states and more than 50 countries exercise simultaneously in a symbolic gesture of fitness and unity to show the world that they do not fit into that negative stereotype of being "physically unfit," according to the Project ACES website.
“We look forward to this every year. Not only does it show off the fitness skills the children are working on, but the kids can see that they are part of a whole, part of something bigger,” said Smith.
The students learned certain dance moves in gym class and on Wednesday, they all came together to dance together.
“May is National Physical Education and Sport Month. It’s great to just recognize that kids are exercising and moving. Dancing is great. It doesn’t have to be organized exercise, they just have to do something,” said Sue Travaglino, who is a Physical Education teacher at Miller Elementary. “It's important that kids are out moving to make their bodies healthier. ”
Travaglino and Judy Slutsky, also a P.E. teacher, organized the Project ACES program at Miller this year. Miller has participated in this project for at least six years.
“It’s wonderful because it shows them how important exercise is,” said Vanessa Amandola, first-grade teacher.
“Children need motivational and fun tools to enjoy exercise,” said Len Saunders, who started Project ACES in 1989.
About Project ACES
This project was started in 1989 by a New Jersey P.E. Teacher, Len Saunders. This non-competitive program has proven to be educational, motivational, and fun. In 2009, the American College of Sports Medicine became a partner in the Project ACES program.
When Saunders created Project, he had no idea that it would reach the magnitude and success of today. The program has been praised by Presidents of the United States; such as Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan. The program has also received praise from Governors, Senators, and celebrities from sports and show business.