Wellness Day At Thunder Hill

April 04, 1995|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Sun Staff Writer

Timothy Lanni didn't miss much. The 8-year-old quickly dialed 911 to report that two men had just robbed "The Big Bank" on Main Street. He even noticed the shoes the fleeing robbers were wearing.

"One has Nike shoes on and red pants and a bag over his head and a jean shirt," the second-grader said, looking at a colorful picture depicting the fictional robbery scene that was held by Alex Sanchez, his Thunder Hill Elementary School classmate. "The other one has a black and blue shirt, purple shoes and beard."

Replied Howard County 911 dispatcher Chris McNamara: "We'll send the police right over."

The drill was one of the skits, demonstrations and exercises last week during Thunder Hill's annual Wellness Day.

The daylong event promoted safety and healthy habits among the school's 435 students, said organizer Nancy Esmond. Twelve parents also took part in the program, which also included information about bones, hygiene and nutrition.

"I think it's a great experience for the kids," said Principal Thomas Bruner. "They learn a lot of practical things about safety, physical fitness and how their bodies work."

For example, the 911 exercise taught students how to dial and use the police, fire and ambulance emergency telephone number.

"When you call, make sure it's an emergency," said Terry Thompson, a 911 dispatcher. Mr. Thompson also told the students to be as detailed because callers are "eyes, ears and nose" for dispatchers.

Timothy was observant and detailed when he called, Mr. McNamara told 150 first- and second-graders, seated on a carpeted floor in a classroom. "He described them very well."

Later, in the cafeteria, dental hygienist Kim Purdum gave students tips for clean and healthy teeth.

"How many of you have lost a tooth?" she asked.

All raised their hands.

"How many of you know how long you will keep your new teeth?"

"Forever!" one shouted.

At the healthy bones station, Latarsha Stewart, 6, and Andrew Canterbury, 6, learned about bones as they connected a paper skeleton with brass fasteners.

In a related activity, physical therapist Debbie Goldstein slid her fingers down a dangling skeleton.

"There are 206 bones in your body," Ms. Goldstein said. "This is the largest bone in the body called the thigh bone, the femur.

"Do you know this bone that protects your brain?" she continued, touching the head.

"Skull," the youngsters resounded.

After her review, students got a "Bone Facts" quiz sheet and a glow-in-the-dark skeleton sticker.

Even the principal did his part for Wellness Day.

Just before noon, he volunteered to have his right ankle splinted and put in a cast to demonstrate the treatment for an injury. Wearing gray shorts, he sat on a table as Dr. Gayle Hopper, a family physician in Baltimore, picked students as nurse, X-ray technician, radiologist and physical therapist.

After rolling up the sleeves of his Washington Redskins jersey, Alex Sanchez dipped sheets of cast material in a bucket of water before wrapping them around Mr. Bruner's ankle.

"This is very messy," said Dr. Hopper.

Because it was a demonstration, the students did not wait the normal 10 to 20 minutes for the material to harden and dry. If Mr. Bruner actually had broken his ankle, he would have had it immobilized and splinted within 24 hours to reduce swelling, Dr. Hopper said.

Resting on his stomach, Mr. Bruner held his right leg in the air so that Dr. Hopper and her helpers could wrap his ankle. "He's going to be a mummy," a student yelled.

Afterward, Mr. Bruner stood on crutches, trying to decide how long he would pretend to be injured. "I'll probably keep it [the splint] on for a while, since they put so much work into it," he said.

Dr. Hopper joked: "We tortured him."

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