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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Butler Elementary students train to become local superheroes

Nov 11, 2019 02:48PM ● By Julie Slama

Butler Elementary students race around their school as part of the Superhero fun run. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

The world is getting a bit better these days. 

That’s because for two weeks, Butler Elementary students took part in the Superhero Training Academy, where they focused on being good students, making a difference in their school and community and learning to lead healthy lifestyles, said Principal Jeff Nalwalker.

“I love what our PTA puts on, how they’re promoting fitness as well as helping these students learn how they can make a positive impact,” he said.

The superhero training program culminated with the Superhero fun run, where students ran, jogged and walked laps around the school with classmates, teachers, family members and Nalwalker, who ran with every grade, his cape flapping in the wind behind him. 

With a goal to raise $20,000 to purchase and plant trees to shade the playground, the kids earlier had asked friends and family to make pledges online to support their running efforts. 

On Sept. 23, they tied their shoes and were off, grade level by grade level, each wearing a school T-shirt sporting their school mascot, the Bobcats. Each lap around the school equals one-quarter mile; organizers estimated students would run a total of about 500 miles that day.

Fifth grader Hailey Norat was looking forward to Butler’s fun run, her last one.

“I like to run with my friends and share in the experience,” she said. “We’re in it together.”

Many parents and siblings cheered along the course, including Madeline Moss’ dad and little sister. Her mom, Stephanie, ran with her kindergartner.

“We love this,” she said. “I like the way everyone is involved, and it’s promoting physical exercise. It makes it fun and gets the kids excited.”

The fun run began with kindergartners and the first runner in was Penelope Leenan.

“It was fun,” she said. “I like running.”

Close behind her was James Pierringer, who said, “It was hard, but worth it. Where’s our new tree to sit under?”

In addition to the shade trees, the funds will be used for PTA activities such as Reflections, teacher appreciation, Bobcat awards, emergency preparedness kits, Watch DOGS program, Battle of the Books, World Night and other programs.

“I like that they’re having fun and every grade is exercising,” Nalwalker said after running with kindergartners and taking a moment to pose with a kindergartner in a superhero-themed cardboard picture frame.

Kindergartner Vivienne Vanallen raced with Nalwalker around the school.

“The fun run is good and I like running all around,” she said. “I ran with him, but I got in before the principal. I beat him.”