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 Carlson Elementary School teacher Monika Davies walks around the block June 3 to help raise money for a community track to be built on the school grounds.

Carlson Elementary School teacher Monika Davies walks around the block June 3 to help raise money for a community track to be built on the school grounds.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Carlson raising funds for new community track

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published June 10, 2019

WARREN — Students, staff and families who attend Carlson Elementary School are in the process of raising money to build a community track at the school.

The community track will be located around the school’s playground area, stretching from Mruk Avenue to Frazho Road. The school is located at 12355 Mruk Ave.

The community track will be another tool that educators will use to help promote exercise at school and get kids on a healthier path in life. Carlson is part of Van Dyke Public Schools.

“We have a wellness committee to support health and healthy eating not only for our kids but for families in the community,” Carlson Principal Joann Iras said. “With kids on video games, there’s an epidemic with health issues and weight gain. The wellness committee really wants to support a healthy lifestyle.”

Once installed, the track will be available for the students to use for certain activities, such as running or walking. Iras said the track also will be open to the public to utilize in the evenings and on weekends. Four times around the track will average 1 mile. The wellness committee hopes to have the track ready by the spring of 2020.  

Iras said the school was quoted $25,000 for the new track. Carlson will pay for it on its own and not with any district money. The staff and students are holding fundraisers, and school staff also will look into grants to help fund the new endeavor.

So far, a total of $6,800 has been raised. The school’s latest fundraiser was a June 3 fun run. During the event, students participated in a walk-a-thon around the school in which they garnered pledges to benefit the community track project. The students walked in 30-minute intervals.

School secretary Teresa Vannuck is one of many supporters behind the track project and encourages everyone in the area to use it.

“There’s not a track in the local area,” Vannuck said. “I think it will be very nice for everyone to have.”

Vannuck also is on the wellness committee, which promotes the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, including eliminating sugary birthday treats. Instead, students are encouraged to bring in healthy choices or items such as pencils to share on their birthdays.

There also are plans for the track area to include workout stations along or within the track parameters. That will be phase two of the project and will cost additional funds.

“That part will be done after the track is built,” Iras said.

Along with the new track, the school has partnered with Henry Ford Health System for a program in which representatives will visit the school to help teach families about healthy eating habits, and offer cooking programs that families can do together. The program is scheduled to begin next year.

There are five staff members on the wellness committee this school year. Parents are not on the committee, but information is presented at the Parent Advisory Committee, or PAC, meeting and parents give input there.

Businesses and community residents are welcome to help support the track through monetary donations. Checks can be made payable to “Carlson Elementary Track” and dropped off or mailed to Carlson Elementary School, 12355 Mruk Ave., Warren MI, 48089. Staff will be at the school until the end of June and return in August.