It was the ultimate dodgeball competition at Richardson Middle School Thursday afternoon.
A steady barrage of dodgeballs flew back and forth across the gym as a handful of faculty members joined with a couple hundred students, swerving and swaying to avoid being hit. The competition is part of Get Fit Be Strong, an after-school competition funded by Army Youth Program in your Neighborhood (AYPYN).
Dodgeball is part of the Richardson AYPYN Olympics which includes 22 events. AYPYN coordinator Frank Ordonez said the students selected the activity for the opportunity to peg their teachers in a friendly game. Hundreds of military and civilian students participate in the after school-program daily.
“The program is mostly about health and living a healthy lifestyle,” Ordonez said. “It also gives them somewhere they belong.”
Ashley Houser joined in the competition ready to play.
“I’m a very competitive person and this is the best way to show it,” she said.
The eighth grader began participating in the after school programming since she was in sixth grade.
“I don’t participate in sports at school but I like Get Fit because we do everything and it’s throughout the whole year,” she said. “It’s better than to be sitting on the couch because that’s pretty boring for me.”
As a regular AYPYN participant, Francisco Andrade likes how the program provides a good mix of academic strengthening and wellness activities.
“We do tutoring first to get our education and then we all have fun,” the seventh grader said.
Richardson’s Olympic competition will continue after winter break with other activities and games.