Southern California Fall 2016 School Champion Award Winner
Southern California: Jefferson Elementary School, Redondo Beach
Seven years ago, Dean Bennett got involved at our elementary school with a morning running club. He has grown the club from less than 50 students to more than 300 students participating on a daily basis. Last school year, the students in grades 1-5 combined to run over 38,000 miles before school. He has arrived early to school every morning for the last seven years to set things up, encourage the kids and high five them on every lap they run. He knows the name of almost every student at school, because there are now more than 600 students who participate in running club at some level throughout the school year. Dean also started the first walking school bus for our school and makes sure all of the kids on his route arrive to school safe and early so they can run their laps every morning. The parents and teachers love the program as much as the students. There is no requirement to be involved with running club, other than wanting to have fun and get moving each day before getting ready to learn. In the years since Dean has been volunteering at our school, the students are more active and the community has become more involved to the point that even parents and other family members come out in the morning to walk, run or skip with the students. Dean has been a constant leader for the success of Fire Up Your Feet and Safe Routes to School types programs at Jefferson Elementary and is a true champion!