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Relay Recess Touches Down At Fair Oaks Elementary
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Primary grade students at Fair Oaks participate in a jump rope contest during Relay Recess on March 28, as part of cancer awareness and prevention activities. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader


Cancer prevention and awareness were the focus of “Relay Recess” at Fair Oaks Elementary school on March 28. The event is a mini version of Relay For Life, the national fundraiser tied to the American Cancer Society.

Michael Riddle, Relay Recess Specialist for the California Division of the American Cancer Society, said that the Relay Recess event provides an opportunity for students, teachers and their families to celebrate and remember their loved ones touched by cancer.

Fair Oaks’ student council has a Relay For Life team and ACS approached the Fair Oaks group at a team captain meeting about Relay Recess.

“Fair Oaks is the only school in Oakdale doing a Relay Recess,” Riddle said. “The event is to promote cancer awareness and prevention through physical education, sun safety, tobacco prevention and nutrition.”

Some of the recess activities included Hula Hoop and jump rope contests, healthy snacks, talk about using sunscreen, and a tobacco prevention exercise where students breathed through straws and held their noses while doing jumping jacks to simulate the difficulty in breathing with lung cancer. The student council members facilitated the activities during lunch recess to promote the focus areas to their peers.

Fair Oaks Vice Principal Janet Hamby said that the student council members started with fundraising activities in November and will continue to fundraise until the Relay For Life event. All the fundraising goes to the Oakdale Relay For Life event, scheduled at the end of this month, April 27 and 28.

Prior to Relay Recess, all Fair Oaks students received fliers about the event with an envelope for a donation. Hamby said ACS provided prizes for top individual fundraisers and there was an extra recess prize for the primary grade and upper grade classes that earned the most average per student.

Hamby also noted that leading up to the Relay Recess event, there were morning announcements with awareness and prevention messages that included statistics, nutrition and exercise tips for health and more.

“It’s a great opportunity for the students to make an impact in the community as well as become knowledgeable about cancer,” Riddle said. “The students feel good about themselves knowing they are doing something to help others.”

She added that it’s not just limited to schools, any youth group can do Relay Recess, citing examples such as Boys and Girls Club, sports groups, 4-H clubs, or church groups.