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Trials and terror of the Pacer (from our June print edition)

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COLONIAL UPPER PLAYGROUND — During the cooler, refreshing  days of  May, fourth and fifth grade students go outside to participate in a challenging running test. The test is called the Pacer, and the key to it is, as the name implies, pace yourself. This test happens once a year for the fourth and fifth grade. It is dreaded by many students

So what is the Pacer? It is a test where students have to run back and forth between the red lines on the Colonial playground. They do this in between beeps from a speaker. When they hear the first beep, they begin to run. If a runner doesn’t reach the other red line before the next beep, she or he is out and the test is over. Every time a student gets to one side, they get one point. The idea is to get a high score.

This test is part of the fitness tests. Kids have to take tests once a year and try to meet certain fitness standards. There is a sit-up test, a push-up test, a pull-up test, numerous flexibility tests, and last but not least, the dreaded Pacer.

The Pacer is like no other test. It never ends and the beeps get closer together, so the test gets harder as it goes along.  Thirty-five points is when kids hit their breaking point and start dropping like flies.

If a student is physically able, they must participate in the test. If they have an injury at the time, the test is postponed and they will have to take it another time.

“I hate the Pacer, and I am not satisfied with my score,” said Jada-Lynn Baez.

In contrast, Charlie Johnson and this reporter enjoyed the Pacer even though after running a lot, it felt like there was syrup in my mouth.

Matthew Dervishi, a fourth grader, said, “I would rather only eat carrots for a year than run the Pacer again.”

Sorry Matthew, but you have to run it again in fifth grade.

Because the test happens on the upper playground, it is facing Pelhamdale Avenue. It is impossible to hear the beeps from Mrs. Sara Bagwell’s  dark crimson-colored speaker. Cars drive by with their wheels thudding on the black pavement.

This reporter has run the Pacer and, from a firsthand account, it is hard. After I finished, I was proud of my score for about five minutes, then I heard other kids sharing their totals.

For kids coming into the Pacer, the key is very simple: pace yourself. If participants really concentrate, they will get a very good score.

Even if you don’t do stellar on this test, don’t worry. It won’t affect you at all. It won’t make you get an unsatisfactory grade in P.E.; it won’t show up on your permanent record. It won’t do anything.

The Pacer can cause some jumpy nerves, but it is not too spine-chilling or frightening. When I walked out for the first time, I was thinking about what I’d seen the other kids do and how I thought it looked terrible. When I participated in it, it was not too bad.

While the Pacer is scary, it is not the worst. Whenever you do it, just go out and try your best.

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About the Writer
Joe Martucci, Student Life Editor

Joe Martucci is 10 years old. He is in fifth grade. He loves to ski and play soccer, lacrosse, and basketball. He also plays piano. He loves hamburgers...

1 Comment

One Response to “Trials and terror of the Pacer (from our June print edition)”

  1. Evan Kaplan on December 20th, 2018 9:16 PM

    GREAT STORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Trials and terror of the Pacer (from our June print edition)