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Lower School Club Encourages Girls to Lead From The Track

Three years ago, Ravenscroft started its first Girls on the Run club with a group of excited third- through fifth-grade girls. Since then, over 100 Lower School girls have participated in this after-school program, which encourages girls to develop self-respect and a healthy lifestyle through fun, dynamic lessons and running games. Each season ends with participants and their families and friends running a 5K together.

The GOTR curriculum includes three parts: understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork, and understanding how we connect with and shape the world.

“What is perfect about the GOTR curriculum is that it is in line with Ravenscroft’s Lead From Here framework,” said fifth-grade teacher Michelle Schulze, a GOTR coach. “Many of our lessons focus on some of our Lead From Here competencies such as being empathetic, communicative and resilient. The girls learn important leadership and interpersonal skills and ultimately are challenged to ‘lead themselves, lead with others and change their world’ each and every day.”

“Our girls feel very connected to one another,” continued Schulze. “It is a safe community that allows an opportunity for girls across three grade levels to share similarities, celebrate uniqueness and gain a deeper understanding of identity. It is truly a team experience as well as an individual goal-setting experience that encourages physical, emotional and social health.”

Each practice kicks off with a interactive lesson, such as friendship, activating your “star power” or avoiding negative self-talk. The concept is reinforced with a game or activity to get the girls moving. After the activity, the girls set a goal for that practice, such as completing a set number of laps or simply running more than they did at the previous practice. The team then heads to Holding Gardens or, on some exciting days, the big track near the Upper School to run their laps.

“It’s awesome to see the transformation the girls go through throughout the season,” said GOTR coach Mary Kornegay, who is Ravenscroft’s digital marketing manager. “At the beginning of the season, we see a lot of walking or skipping. In the weeks leading up to the 5K, the girls are flying around the track with confidence and ease.”

In addition to the lessons and the exercise, the team works together to come up with a community service project. Past projects have included holding a book drive, posting motivational messages around the Lower School, and helping the Lower School administration with Women’s History Month announcements. This year, they are picking up trash around campus.

“My favorite Girls on the Run moment was last spring during our mock 5K ,” Kornegay said. “The girls always practice running a full 5K before the official end-of-season race, and this particular year we ran it on the cross-country course. Our last girl was about 100 yards from the finish line, and all of the girls who had already finished ran back to her, to run her in and complete the race together. That’s what Girls on the Run is all about.”