Little Cypress Intermediate and Little Cypress Elementary hosted their 3rd Annual American Diabetes Association School Walk and Blood Drive recently. The event began with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the new Health Walk that was made possible by LCI receiving a $5,000 national grant from Lowe’s Toolbox for Education and the hard work of the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Maintenance Department. Jim Clark of the Lutcher Theater served as the Master of Ceremony with music being provided by the Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School Band. The flags were presented and posted by Scouts Ryan Casey, Lawson Cox, Tommy Brenzenski, Bryce Gengo, and Cody Rouse.  Participating in the ribbon cutting was Texas State Representative, Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton; Sheriff Mike White; LCM School Board Member Don Anderson; Region 5 School Health Specialist Deeann Cisco; Vera Martinez Winn of Orange County Diabetes Prevention, Awareness and Health Education Program; Dr. Calvin Parker, LCM School District’s Medical Director; Charlie Muldoon Commercial Sales Specialist of Lowe’s; Judy Watkins, LCI Principal; Susan Bayliss LCM Director of Health Services; Kelly Meadows LCI School Nurse, and the 2008 Student Leaders. The Leaders are Cole Cleveland, Hannah Morvant, Laney Mugleston, Cameron Parker, Sierra Breaux, Lindsey Stevenson, Becky Mitchell, Olivia Day, Katelyn Dyer, Mikaela Stegall, Lauren Walter, Tristen Stringer, Hannah Slaten, Brianna Davis, and returning leaders Hannah Foreman, Tyler Freeman with Hayden Anderson as the Ambassador.

The Celebration Lap was led by Kelly Meadows, Rep. Mike Hamilton, Mike White, Vera Winn, and Deeann Cisco followed by the student leaders while the band played the School Song and the Fight Song. LifeShare Blood Center was on hand with both of their buses to collect 65 pints of much needed blood. Many different community resources that promote health, wellness and safety joined the festivities offering a variety of services from blood sugar monitoring to body fat analysis in addition to lots of literature. There was information about the negative effects of tobacco with dramatic displays that caught the students’ attention and sparked lots of conversations.
The LCI & LCE PTO offered fresh fruit while Acadian Ambulance and Lowe’s offered bottled water. Over 1,200 students, friends, families, community members and staff walked the new 1/2 mile concrete Health Walk together for 6 hours. The new wheelchair ramp, that was made possible by the grant, was used throughout the day by people pushing strollers, pulling wagons, and a motorized wheelchair. One grandfather walked 47 laps (23 1/2 miles) setting a tremendous example for all those in attendance demonstrating that walking can be fun as well as a healthy. There were several multi-generational families walking while they enjoyed the day visiting and talking about the different signs that marked the track indicating the amounts of calories in a variety of foods and the distance that is needed to be walked to burn those calories.

By the end of the day, over $6,800 (with more still coming in), had been raised for the American Diabetes Association for research and diabetes education. “We believe the event was extremely successful as demonstrated by the number of people that attended, the amount of blood donated, the number of miles that were walked and the interaction that occurred with the vendors/exhibitors” states Kelly Meadows. Robert Woodard of CERT (Orange County’s Citizen Emergency Response Team) stated, “This was great, we had several people sign up for our April classes.” Irene Ramirez of the Dauphin Cancer Screening & Prevention Center commented that the students asked some very intelligent questions regarding the impact of smoking. Hayden Anderson, the Ambassador was asked what he thought of the event, he made the following comments, “It was real fun-a lot of people showed up. It means a lot to me because I have Type I Diabetes.” When asked why other people should get involved he said, “So we can raise money to find a cure quick for kids like me and to give blood for the people who need it.”

Plans are already being made for next year’s event. “We believe this is the perfect way to demonstrate a coordinated approach to school health. Everyone gets involved and works together to make this a success. The people from our cafeteria prepare healthy brown bag lunches for that day to enable those that are interested to have picnics. The classroom teachers not only walk with the students during the event setting a great example but they also spend time talking about the impact of physical activity and healthy diets on their academic success as well as their life. Health services and the physical education departments work together to coordinate the event. Our maintenance department works to ensure a healthy and safe environment that can be enjoyed by everyone for example, building a new wheelchair ramp on the Health Walk.

Our counselors help us with identifying students that do not have friends or family coming to participate so that community members and staff can donate blood and their laps walked in those students’ names, that way enabling them to win additional prizes. (The students are always impressed when they find out someone cares enough about them to donate in their name.) It would not have been possible without our administration and School Health Advisory Council, they are always extremely supportive. We are pleased that this has become a district wide event with students and faculty from LCE, LCI, LCJH, and LCM participating and staff members from the two Mauriceville campuses came to observe part of the event in hopes of being able to host their own next year.” (Comments, by Kelly Meadows, LCI School Nurse.)