So Many Smiles! 2021 Smile Mile Recap
Starting at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 27, kids started showing up to the Galileo School for Gifted Learning in Seminole County and not because they had to. Kids, along with parents and volunteers, came to run their Smile Mile!
Due to conditions surrounding the pandemic, the 37th annual Smile Mile was converted to a virtual experience, meaning that kids could participate in this mile run anytime, anywhere on their own, or in small family groups.
Over 1,100 children registered for this year's event. Each one received a bib number, T-shirt, and finisher medal.
Several local educators organized in-person events on their school campuses either over the weekend or during school hours to keep that Smile Mile spirit going!
The Galileo School hosted over 200 students for a traditional-style Smile Mile with boys' and girls’ races and including awards for top performances.
Melissa Casebolt, physical education teacher at Wedgefield K-8 in East Orange County, organized their Smile Mile during PE classes for elementary and middle school.
“The Smile Mile is the perfect event to encourage healthy behaviors and bring our school together,” said Ms. Casebolt. “It was the talk of the school for the week leading up to the event. Because we are not allowed to have volunteers on campus due to Covid, our middle school students stepped up to the plate. They dotted hands after each lap, cheered, and held signs, played their instruments, dressed up as the school’s mascot, and handed out medals. The best part was seeing the kids’ faces as they proudly wear their Smile Mile medals.”
Orlando Science Elementary and Osceola Science Charter held similar events on their campuses. With the power of social media, we saw plenty of other families and friends gathering for their own Smile Mile runs!
Sarah Brown, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Track Shack Events described a breakthrough moment with her 7-year-old running his first Smile Mile. “Doing Smile Mile with Thurston this year was one of my happiest parent moments. He’s never run a full mile so I was curious how he would handle it. He ran out in front of me, and I could not catch up with him. When he finished his confidence and happiness was beyond what I’ve ever seen. Afterward, he told me it was hard and that he wanted to walk a few times, but he told himself to keep going. I’m invigorated in my job knowing that a thousand other families had an unforgettable experience with their kids. I’m thankful for Track Shack, AdventHealth for Children, Florida Dairy Farmers and all the community support for our kids!”
Every year, one school from each county wins the Coach “Sly” Johnson Largest Team Award and a $500 Track Shack Youth Foundation grant for their school PE program. The 2021 largest teams are:
First Academy Leesburg (59)
Orlando Science Elementary (164)
Osceola Science Charter School (150)
Galileo School for Gifted Learning (203)
Tell us about your child’s Smile Mile experience and share a picture below. Search #TrackShackSmiles and #TrackShackVirtual on social media to see all the smiles!
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