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Pfc. Brodie Cantrell, a volunteer with the Single Marine Program aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and a Slaton, Texas, native, runs alongside a student at Miramar Ranch Elementary School in San Diego, April 29. The Marines volunteered for a P.E. Fitness Challenge, an event which allowed children and Marines to complete a series of exercises throughout the course of the school day. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Lillian Stephens/Released)

Photo by Sgt. Lillian Stephens

Marines with Single Marine Program visit San Diego school

4 May 2016 | Sgt. Lillian Stephens 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marines volunteering with the Single Marine Program aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar visited Miramar Ranch Elementary School in San Diego, April 29.

Marines and members of MCAS Miramar’s SMP participated in the school’s annual P.E. Fitness Challenge alongside 750 students. The P.E. Fitness Challenge consisted of the students running laps at the beginning of the day, attending one period of physical education with the Marines and a color run at the end of the school day.

“This is our second year doing this and last year the response was so strong from our kids,” said Crane. “They love this challenge, but they particularly love the Marines here. It’s just an opportunity for them to have a good time with some young adults who are good role models for them.”

During the period of physical education, Marines from various units aboard MCAS Miramar lead elementary-school-aged children through a series of stations including a tug-of-war and a small obstacle course.

According to Sgt. Krysta Apodaca, SMP president for MCAS Miramar, and a Seminole, Fla., native, the P.E. Fitness Challenge gave Marines an opportunity to volunteer and interact with the San Diego community.

“It’s a great community-building event,” said Crane. “It’s a great sense of pride for our kids who are from military families, they look forward to this. They look forward to seeing people that look like mom or dad in uniform."

According to Peggy Crane, principal of Miramar Ranch Elementary School, and a Cincinnati native, the P.E. Fitness Challenge is a highly anticipated event.

“I think it’s rewarding on both halves, and I would give it a ‘10’ for success,” said Apodaca. “The kids always leave happy. The Marines always leave happy. We just enjoy being with the students and it’s something [the students] talk about all year.”

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