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The George Ward Elementary School Wellness Committee consists of Mark Allen, school counselor, Dustin Garner, physical education, and Stephanie Zickefoose, speech therapist.

ELKINS — Most kids don’t get enough water!

Water is very important to the body because it uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, its important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. Mild dehydration can affect children’s fatigue levels, mood and their ability to learn.

The Wellness Committee at George Ward Elementary School which consists of Dustin Garner, Mark Allen, and Stephanie Zickefoose completed a project to replace all the water fountains, within the school.

The committee felt that students were not drinking enough water and the students struggled to fill the water bottles with the older fountains. The goal of the committee was to improve drinking water from the water fountains which would indirectly effect student’s academic performance and also result in overall better physical and mental health.

The exciting thing about the new water fountains is that they not only serve as a way to get a drink, they also allow students to fill their water bottles with much ease because they have a spot to fill the water. Students who struggle with physical dexterity are able to easily turn on the water by just leaning their hand against the button as compared to the older turn knob style. The last benefit was that there are water filters for the water fountain.

Fifth-grade student Ginda Tumblin smiles with her father, Kevin Tumblin, a volunteer installer.

Garner said, “We believe that we have given our students the ability to remain hydrated throughout the day without much disruption to their learning experience.”

The school also had the opportunity to have Tracey Valach from West Virginia University Extension Service Family Nutritional Program to go into the classroom and teach the students the importance of drinking water and present the program “Rethink Your Drink,” with the goal to decrease the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages in youth and adults across the state. Having the program and the improvement to the water fountains was perfect timing and complimented each other very well, officials said.

Allen said, ” Our school is very fortunate to have Tracey present this material at no cost to the school, her energy and enthusiasm for the subject material is contagious.”

The school raised the finances by various fundraising activities. On behalf of the committee officials want to thank the following organizations: Snow Shoe Foundation, Elkins Rotary, participants of the annual, Upper Valley Run/Walk 5K fundraiser committee, and the Student Council schoolwide “Penny War.”

Officials were also blessed by the following volunteers who helped install the water fountains at no cost: Kris Bailey, Randy Ware, Kevin Tumblin, Dustin Garner and Mark Allen.

The next goal is to work on getting an outdoor water fountain for the playground that can be used year round. If anyone is interested in helping with that project please call 304-335-4975 and ask to speak to the school counselor, Mark Allen.

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