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HOTL holds ‘Relay Recess’ event

Heart of the Lakes Elementary students, front row, left to right, Owen Buehler, Caden Doll, Paige Johnson, Kadence Schmitz and Mercedes Fresonke presented checks to Relay For Life on May 30. Also pictured, back row, from left to right, are Principal Kari Yates, Relay For Life Chairperson Lisa Peterson, survivors Ruth Wegscheid and Linda Hendrickson, and School Counselor Julie Vomacka. Joe Bowen/FOCUS

Perham’s Heart of the Lakes Elementary School participated in a ‘Relay Recess,’ a Relay for Life event geared toward younger children, on Wednesday, May 22.

The relay focused on four facets of the broader Relay for Life campaign: fundraising, walking and general exercise, nutrition, and protection from the sun, according to School Counselor Julie Vomacka, who organized the event.

The “big idea,” she explained, was to raise money and educate students.

“The walking is fun, but it’s not the main point,” she added.

To fundraise, students participated in a “coin war,” with each grade competing to bring in the most coins of a specific denomination on each day of the week – on Monday, they brought in as many pennies as possible, on Tuesday, nickels, and so on.

The winning grade was the first grade, which raised almost $400 of the $1,500 total from the school as a whole.

The raised money will be donated to the Perham Relay for Life.

The first graders will receive an ice cream sundae party as a prize, Vomacka said.

For the walking and activity portion, students walked in a loop through the large hallway at Heart of the Lakes in 20-25 minute shifts.  Each of the 21 classrooms had its own shift.

Originally, the walk was scheduled for the nearby high school track, but a rain storm meant “we had to improvise,” Vomacka said.

For the nutrition and protection from the sun portions of the program, “the students are given instruction throughout the year on healthy eating from Marilyn Hofland, a nutrition educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Office,” Vomacka said.