Fourth-Grader Leads Own Fitness Class at Recess

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ASHLAND, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The possibilities are endless for how kids spend their time during school recess.

But one nine-year-old girl has turned her 30-minute school break into another class that’s gaining popularity in the school. Welcome to nine-year-old Abby Smith’s fitness class. It takes place on school days from 11:30 to noon at North Schuylkill Elementary School.

“It’s just fun to do because you get to work out and you stay strong,” fourth-grader Isabelle Bevan said. Bevan is Smith’s assistant.

She started the classes when she was in the third grade with a small group. Now the class is booming.

“I was getting fit and in shape and I really wanted to bring that here so a bunch of kids could get fit, strong and in shape,” Smith said.

She was inspired by her fitness instructors at Jungle Fitness in Schuylkill Haven where she’s been taking classes for about two years.

“The fact that she’s able to run a really like a legitimate class like this at recess and hold all their attention is impressive,” Jungle Fitness general manager Anthony Kelly said.

Treating her class just like the pros, the fourth-grader starts with a warm-up, goes into a full workout then finishes up with core. Abby spends about 30 seconds on each drill and she says she loves to switch it up so her class doesn’t get bored. And the students in her class feel the burn.

“Sometimes you kind of sweat a little bit,” fourth-grader Kyleigh Booth said.

She likes to take attendance and has about 40 students signing up each day. That’s about 20 percent of the school’s fourth-grade class.

“She has a great work ethic and she is just a leader in the classroom both in and outside,” fourth-grade teacher Janelle Staudenmaier said.

“I do workouts at my house. I look up workouts that I try to remember workouts from the gym,” Smith said.

Showing her workouts are not just something to do during recess. It’s a lifestyle. When it gets too cold outside, Abby holds smaller classes in the hallway.

Abby says she wants to design fitness clothes when she grows up.

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