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Rowan Elementary students, parents reverse roles for Fitness Day

| Saturday, April 12, 2014, 6:09 p.m.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Third-grader Alex Palmieri runs through a hoop course Wednesday April 9, at Rowan Elementary School for Parent Fitness Day. The students' parents joined in the children in gym class activities.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Third-grader Sophie Cracaft slides off her scooter board as she and her mother, Melissa, race Wednesday April 9, at Rowan Elementary School in during Parent Fitness Day. The students' parents joined in the students' gym class activities in a station course that included baskeball, volleyball climbing and jumping.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Third-grader Riley Sain climbs the gym rope under the watchful eye of gym teacher Mike Manipole, left, and her father, Jerry, at Rowan Elementary School in Cranberry for Parent Fitness Day.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Derek Marotta, right, plays Wii tennis with his third-grade daughter, Emma, far left, and her friend, Lauryn Young, on Wednesday April 9, at Rowan Elementary School.

Even though Kim Palmieri works out a few times a week, going through the activities in her son's gym class was tricky.

“It's definitely more challenging than what I'm used to,” she said. “And I notice with each grade level I come in, it gets harder.”

Palmieri joined a dozen other parents in the gym at Rowan Elementary School in the Seneca Valley School District for Parent Fitness Day last week, a student-run interactive gym class in which students acted as teachers to put their parents to the test.

“It's a great way for the kids to show off their skills and for parents to see what they're learning,” said Mike Manipole, Rowan physical education teacher.

Students in grades one through four at Rowan hosted their parents during gym class throughout the week.

The kids lead their parents through 15 stations representing activities and sports they learned in gym class, such as basketball, football, jump rope, Wii tennis, bean bag toss and balance beam.

The workouts are challenging for even the most fit and active parents, Manipole said.

“Even parents that work out all the time are sore the next day,” he said. “It activates some muscles they're not used to using.”

Palmieri and her son, Alex, paired up with Megan Spear and her son, Jordan, to go through the stations. While both mothers said they work out regularly, the boys, both 9, put them through their paces.

“We're an active family, but they definitely excel at this,” said Spear, 39, of Cranberry.

Palmieri, 40, of Cranberry, said she been participating in the event since her daughter, now in fifth grade, started school at Rowan. She loves that every year she participates, there are familiar gym staples, such as the rope climb, and new activities to keep students engaged.

“I think it's a great way to encourage kids to do a variety of activities,” Palmieri said.

Jordan and Alex, both students in Elaine Mings' third-grade class, said they enjoyed guiding their moms through the course.

“I like to make them sweat,” Jordan said, with a grin.

Although the boys said their mothers performed pretty well throughout the class, they were giving them a B+ for their efforts.

“There's room for improvement,” Alex said.

“Yeah, you can always get better,” Jordan added.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902.

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