Patrick Reagan, a fifth grade teacher at Wentworth School in Scarborough, was awarded a grant to begin the Wentworth Warrior Challenge, which will be an obstacle course students will complete later in the spring. The grant is through the Scarborough Education Foundation. Courtesy Patrick Reagan

SCARBOROUGH — Wentworth School fifth graders in Scarborough are training for an obstacle course challenge in June with the help of grant funding and a trainer from local gym Foley’s Fitness.

Students will be completing the Wentworth Warrior Challenge on June 1 and 3, Patrick Reagan, fifth-grade teacher, said. The course will be laid out in the field, giving kids an opportunity to spend time outside and celebrate their hard work.

Reagan said he received a grant of $3,000 from the Scarborough Education Foundation at the beginning of 2020. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the project was pushed back to the spring of 2021.

Other teachers and staff have also been involved to incorporate different learning elements into the challenge, he said. Physical education teacher Keith Kitchin, an “obstacle king,” is helping to design a course, which will include an inflatable piece.

“One of the things we are looking for is to try to get kids a little bit more fit, get them exercising,” Reagan said. “We were trying to think of different elements to integrate. For example, our STEM teacher, Brandon Johnson, is helping design layouts, giving the kids some choice on what obstacles we use during this obstacle challenge.”

Students will also be designing posters to promote the challenge, adding an artistic component, Reagan said.

He hopes students will learn patience in trying to work through difficulties and challenges and that they will realize there are better times ahead, he said.

“The kids feel a little bit left out, not enough contact with one another,” Reagan said. “Even with fitness, it’s more at home because of the pandemic, so it has kind of worked out because we’re getting the kids moving again. They’re getting excited to think about, ‘Hey we’re going to do something in June.'”

Noah Nicholas, a trainer at Foley’s Fitness, said he started teaching the fifth grade classes over Zoom in January, and the students have so far been enthusiastic and willing to learn.

“They enjoy it so much,” he said. “Sometimes for kids exercise can be a chore or something they don’t enjoy doing. They view it sort of like a punishment, but these kids are actually having a lot of fun with it. They enjoy doing the exercises. It’s something they look forward to.”

Trainer Noah Nicholas from Foley’s Fitness has been showing Wentworth School students different workouts in preparation for an obstacle course challenge later this spring. He has been teaching the students over Zoom since January. Courtesy photo Patrick Reagan

Nicholas hopes that the students will keep the workout routines he teaches them and learn that fitness impacts mental health as well as physical health, he said.

“You only need a short time to workout, because all my workouts with them have only been 20 to 30 minutes,” Nicholas said. “Some people might think you need a full hour, hour and a half to get a good workout in. A lot of people use the excuse that they don’t have enough time to exercise, but really, all you need are 20 to 30 minutes to stay active and keep moving. I think that’s going to be an important takeaway.”

Getting children active is something Foley’s Fitness is passionate about, said owner Mike Foley.

“What I’m real proud with Noah is making it tailored to be fun,” he said. “I think if you look at some kids their age, some kids are very competitive in sports, so it comes easy to them, but a lot of kids have never been active before.”

Foley said he has received emails from different parents saying that their kids are now pushing them to be more active.

The Wentworth Warrior Project is another opportunity for the gym to be involved in the community, Foley said.

“The whole Scarborough community, also the surrounding communities have been really supportive of us during this time,” he said. “We have a lot of high school kids working out, especially from Scarborough, so anything we can do to build a bond with the community, we’re really blessed and feel fortunate.”

Students will be completing the course in small groups in order to be safe, Reagan said. The event will take place where a traditional end-of-the-year field day normally does.

Thinking about fitness is more necessary than ever, and the project helps keeps students motivated, he said.

“It’s just another thing that gets kids thinking about fitness,” Reagan said. “With a team of people working towards the same goal, it’s helpful.”

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