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Great Valley Academy jog-a-thon target: $20K
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For their first jog-a-thon, the students of Great Valley Academy in Manteca are aiming to raise $20,000 today so that each classroom will have four computers plus other high-tech equipment to enhance learning.

“The primary goal is to place approximately four student computers in each classroom, along with printers, Internet access” and the like, said Great Valley Principal Russell Howell.

“This will allow our students to engage in research, on-line learning activities, Word processing, and Power Point presentations…. There are countless activities that will become accessible to students once we get these computers in each classroom,” Howell said.

The money will come from pledges collected by the students, which is what they have been doing in the last few weeks. The money collected is actually donations, he said.

The event is being held on the day when the entire school normally has an assembly every Friday morning, Howell explained. This morning assembly includes “a little song or cheer” led by the school’s music teacher, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and the GVA Allegiance and then the introduction of the “rule of the week” introduced via a presentation or a skit by the junior high students.

“The rules are really points of emphasis, such as skipping, looking others in the eye, (and) picking up trash, etc. This week, it will be to run hard in our jog-a-thon. The whole thing usually lasts only 10 to 15 minutes,” Russell explained.

Today’s assembly will slightly depart from the usual weekly Friday school assembly because of the jog-a-thon. There will be a closing ceremony at 11:20 a.m. when recognitions will be given to the top runners, top money earners and other categories.

The students will be running on the school field, inside the track, with the first group taking off running at 9 a.m. The final group will begin at 11 a.m.

Great Valley Academy first opened its doors in Manteca in August with more than 400 students. After the charter school’s application was turned down by the Manteca Unified School District Board of Education and the San Joaquin County Office of Education, Tracy’s New Jerusalem School District Board stepped up to the plate and unanimously approved Great Valley Academy to open and occupy the facility that was formerly Manteca Christian School run by The Place of Refuge, formerly the Assembly of God on Button Avenue. The Manteca campus is an expansion of the Great Valley Academy in Modesto which was experiencing a long waiting list of students who wanted to get into the school. Many of the students who are now attending the GVA campus in Manteca used to be driven by their families to the school in Modesto.

On Dec. 9, the school will have a “culminating event” complete with “presentations, re-enactments and projects,” Howell said.

“This is where we invite parents to come and see what the students have been working on and celebrate their progress,” he explained.

The school also plans to have a float at the annual Manteca Christmas Parade, the principal added.