RYDAL – Students in kindergarten through eighth grades at St. Hilary School in Rydal kicked off their yearly wellness program with Zumba lessons in the school yard Sept. 22.

“Zumba is basically aerobic moves set to Latin music,” said Ellen Romano, a Zumba instructor who led children and faculty in the exhilarating workout. In addition, children rotated throughout a wellness fair to different exercise stations, including hula hooping and jumping rope.

St. Hilary’s Home and School Association treated students to chilled fresh fruit salad and water for their efforts, refreshing them while providing examples for healthy snack choices.

The school’s health and wellness program, titled “Wellness Wednesdays,” is held in conjunction with Holy Redeemer Hospital’s outreach program and exposes students to a “variety of health, nutrition and exercise information and activities that guide them toward taking an active role in their own fitness.”

Throughout the year parents and faculty encourage students to eat well and be on the move by providing plenty of activities and healthy food options, such as making salads the main entree sold in the cafeteria on Wednesdays. Students are also encouraged to participate in a weekly walking program on parish grounds during lunch recess. As incentive, children who walk earn raffle tickets toward prizes related to fitness and exercise or health.

According to Kathy McCrea, an educational resource committee member and program coordinator, last year a student won a WII Fit system.