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George Mason Wins Healthy School Award

Marines make presentation.

MCM Fun Run participants from George Mason Elementary School celebrate their Healthy School Award March 1. The school had 243 students participate in the run, which placed them in the top 5 and earned the PE department a check for $1,000.

MCM Fun Run participants from George Mason Elementary School celebrate their Healthy School Award March 1. The school had 243 students participate in the run, which placed them in the top 5 and earned the PE department a check for $1,000. Photo by Jeanne Theismann.

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George Mason PE teacher Julie Westcott receives a special medal from MCM race director Rick Nealis.

A contingent of Marines from Quantico visited George Mason Elementary School March 1 to present the student body with the Marine Corps Marathon Healthy School Award for their record participation in the 2011 Healthy Kids Fun Run.

“I am so lucky,” said PE teacher Julie Westcott in accepting the award. “Every single day I am so happy and so proud to be at this school.”

George Mason registered 243 students for this year's race, making it one of the top five selected for the award. Nearly 3,000 students from across the country participated in the one-mile, just for fun race, which took place in the Pentagon North parking lot on Oct. 29, 2011.

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Miles the Bulldog leads students in exercises as part of the Healthy School Award ceremony.

“We know some other Alexandria schools are trying to compete with us,” said Westcott in reference to James K. Polk, William Ramsey and Mount Vernon Community schools, which also placed in the top five of last year's event. “So next year, we're going to work even harder.”

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MCM race director Rick Nealis and PE teacher Julie Westcott give a thumbs up as Sodexo representative Larry McMarlin presents a check for $1,000 to the students at George Mason Elementary School March 1.

Students who participated in the race wore their Healthy Fun Run t-shirts to the awards ceremony. MCM race director Rick Nealis and mascot Miles the Bulldog then led the student body in a round of military physical training exercises.

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Miles the Bulldog crosses a mock finish line at George Mason Elementary School as part of the Healthy School Award presentation.

As part of the award, MCM sponsor Sodexo presented a check for $1,000 to the school and provided healthy snacks for the students.

“We'll have no problem spending that money,” Westcott said with a laugh. “We're preparing for our own Olympics in June where students will participate in multi-cultural sports that they wouldn't otherwise be able to experience. We can't thank the Marine Corps Marathon and Sodexo enough for providing this opportunity for our students.”

The 2012 Healthy Kids Fun Run, a one-mile run for fun for students ages 5 to 12, will open for online registration at noon April 4 at www.marinemarathon.com. Parents can register kids for the event that will be held on Saturday, Oct. 27. Schools or organizations interested in registering groups of students can contact MCM communications coordinator Amy Beaulieu at amy.beaulieu@usmc.mil or 703-784-2357.