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PCES finishes 13th in inaugural WinterKids Winter Games

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GUILFORD — Shortly before athletes from around the world began representing their countries in PyeongChang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics, students at Piscataquis Community Elementary School represented their county against schools from across Maine in the inaugural WinterKids Winter Games.

When the PCES students returned in January they competed in four weeks of physical activity and nutrition challenges designed to help them be active in the winter and learn healthy habits. Pupils earned points along the way — based on percentages of students who participate — as one school from each of Maine’s 16 counties competed to win one of three cash prizes for the institution.

The students of PCES finished the WinterKids Winter Games with a score of 99.31 points, placing 13th among institutions from the state’s 16 counties.

PCES is one of 10 schools to receive $250 Cooper Campbell Spirit Awards, in honor of Scarborough teen Cooper Campbell. Campbell’s dad is the largest individual donor to date at WinterKids and serves on the board of directors. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Campbell’s passing at the hands of a drunk driver. Campbell embodied the spirit of WinterKids and he was true outdoor enthusiast.

The Dayton Consolidated School has won the Gold in the first-ever WinterKids Winter Games, receiving $5,000 cash for the school. Mere percentage points separated the Silver and Bronze winners — 121.75 to 121.62 respective points. Waldo T. Skillin School in South Portland won the Silver Medal for Cumberland County ($3,000 cash) and Miles Lane School in Bucksport won the Bronze for Hancock County ($1,500 cash). WinterKids presented the medals in all-school ceremonies on Feb. 6

Competition was fierce as students participated in a four-week series of outdoor physical activity and nutrition challenges designed to help them be active in the winter and learn healthy habits. Each school was encouraged to involve volunteers, parents, healthy eating and active living organizations in their community, and hold a winter carnival to close out the month’s events.

Schools competed for weekly points based on the total percentage of the student body that participated. Schools competing in the WinterKids Winter Games received a toolkit full of resources and incentives to help students earn points, including the award-winning WinterKids Guide to Outdoor Active Learning — an easy to use resource to help kids move, learn, and explore outdoors while meeting education standards. In addition, schools received bonus points for open and closing ceremonies, roster videos, community partnerships and school spirit.

“The way this month has unfolded has been amazing to watch,” said Julie Mulkern, executive director of WinterKids. “The kids and teachers ran with this program, and the energy, pride, and commitment were palpable. All of the teachers are talking about ways they will continue the healthy behaviors in their schools and communities. That is success. This is a fantastic way to get kids excited about being active and learning outdoors in the winter and living healthier lifestyles.”

The WinterKids Winter Games engaged 4,200 kids and 240 teachers statewide. For more details visit https://www.winterkids.org/teachers-and-schools/winterkids-winter-games/.

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