Keith Bovenschen School Assistant Principal Christie Pilon cheers as Brandon Chris, 23, crosses the finish line at the May 16 Lancer Fun Walk, Run and Roll event.

Keith Bovenschen School Assistant Principal Christie Pilon cheers as Brandon Chris, 23, crosses the finish line at the May 16 Lancer Fun Walk, Run and Roll event.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

ACES high at Lancer event

Bovenschen students enjoy exercise outing

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published May 20, 2019


WARREN — Rays of sunshine and a gentle breeze greeted the crowd that gathered May 16 in the parking lot of the Keith Bovenschen School at 12345 Frazho Road.

Last Thursday morning, the school’s students, teachers and families — along with a large group of volunteers — participated in the eighth annual Lancer Fun Walk, Run and Roll. The Lancer is the school’s mascot.

The yearly activity is how the school celebrates the global event All Children Exercising Simultaneously, or ACES, which is designed to have students across the world exercise at the same time, depending on what time zone they live in.

Keith Bovenschen School, operated by the Macomb Intermediate School District, provides educational services for students ages 3-26 with moderate to severe cognitive impairment. The school currently serves about 290 students from southern Macomb County. The annual Lancer Fun Walk, Run and Roll is for students who walk, run or roll in their wheelchairs during the celebration.

During the ACES event, the Warren Police Department shut down a portion of Frazho Road near Schoenherr Road so the students and their partners could have the roadway all to themselves. The students and their volunteers walked, ran or were escorted in their wheelchairs from the school to Schoenherr and back. A few students even carried pom poms. Before the event began, adaptive physical education teacher Jacqueline Goosen gave a brief pep talk.

“This is to promote lifelong fitness and health,” said Goosen, who also thanked all the volunteers who assisted. “We could not make this happen today without your caring hands.”

Goosen; fellow adaptive physical education teacher Rose Mumma; and Jenny Potapa, a teacher of students with severe multiple impairments, coordinated the event with a wellness committee that included teachers Helen Horn, Brian Watters and Stephanie Mansoor; paraprofessional Karrie Carroll; and physical therapist Christie Hawkins.

“The kids love it,” Potapa said. “The volunteers either run with a student, hold a hand or push a wheelchair.”

“Great job, you guys,” Goosen called out as the event continued on. “Keep going.”

Students from Center Line High School, Parkway Christian School in Sterling Heights, Neil E. Reid High School in Clinton Township, and De La Salle Collegiate High School in Warren volunteered their time at the event by joining students on the temporary raceway. The group even had a cheering section from a group of students at Carlson Elementary School, which is just across the street from Bovenschen. A disc jockey played music to keep the Lancer spirit going.

MISD Board Vice President Theresa Genest and Treasurer Ed Farley handed out medals as the participants crossed the finish line. Also present was MISD Superintendent Michael DeVault. This year’s medals were fidget spinners, courtesy of the running group GP Runners, based in the Grosse Pointes.

GP Runners member Rachel Mayer, whose 16-year-old son Willie attends Bovenschen, said the running group has donated money for several years to provide medals for the students as well as volunteer at the event. Mayer has four children, including 8-year-old Noah and 14-year-old Robert, who attended last week’s event. As for the annual Lancer Fun Walk, Run and Roll, Mayer loves it.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for students,” she said. “It’s their whole school. They do health education and talk about being healthy and eating healthy.”

Using an electronic device to communicate, Bovenschen student Randee Najeeb, 20, said he liked the race.

“It’s awesome,” said Najeeb, who participated with paraprofessional Robyn Lobsinger.

Bovenschen student Victoria “Tori” Farley, a 17-year-old senior, had a blast at the event with teacher Rindala Younes. She said she liked the event because she likes to run, dance and be with her friends.

This year marked the first time volunteering for De La Salle freshmen Matthew Richter, Alton McCullum, Luke Weingartz and Francesco Ayer.

“It’s great we can help the community in so many ways,” Richter said.

“It was pretty fun,” McCullum said. “I’m glad I got to come out here and help the kids. I walked with two kids. They were jumping and just having fun.”

According to Weingartz, De La Salle Director of Christian Service Jo Marie Ragona finds community service projects for the students.

During the event, Ayer walked with a student. The pair talked about what they are going to do over the summer.

“I would definitely do this again next year,” Ayer said.