CLEARFIELD — One of first-grader Luke Harrison’s favorite recess activities is to race his friends around the track that surrounds the playground at Antelope Elementary School.
“I do it because I want the charms,” said Luke, 6, of the new reward system the school has implemented this year to encourage students to use the track during recess.
For each quarter-mile lap the students choose to complete, they receive a star punch on the special cards they are issued. Once they receive 10 punches — the equivalent of about 2 1/2 miles — students are awarded a necklace with a tennis shoe charm.
For each subsequent 15 laps — a bit less than 4 miles — the students are awarded another charm.
“I’m working on my fifth one,” Luke said as he listed some of the charms he already has, including a tennis shoe, an A+ and a foot.
“I want the eighth one. It’s a big star,” he said. “I like running. It’s just fun.”
Lisa Lomax, head secretary at the school, said the voluntary walking and running program has been around for several years, but was in need of more attention.
“It’s really taken off with punch cards and all the new charms,” Lomax said. “The kids have really enjoyed it. It gives them something to work for.”
Lomax said that in addition to the regular charms, the school has charms for each month of the year. Some of the charms are: glow-in-the-dark pumpkins for October, pine trees for December, hearts for February, and four-leaf clovers for March.
Kerri Spackman is a recess duty worker who punches the cards for the students as they complete each lap. She said there are some “regulars” who complete up to three laps per recess, as well as those who participate only occasionally.
Spackman said the activity provides the students who are less athletic with a means to walk and talk with their friends.
She also mentioned that it gives kids who like to run the opportunity to excel.
“It’s really good for those who maybe need something to do, and actually there are a few kids that it keeps them out of trouble,” Spackman said. And the kids enjoy having their efforts recognized without having to wait a long time.
“They get so excited to get all those little charms. It’s a good thing because it’s a reward really quickly.”