CHEROKEE CHOICES SUCCESS STORY
By YVETTE RIVERA-COLMANT
Aiyanna West has a winning smile and clear sharp eyes. She is healthy and easily shares her secret to being fit, “Its running, running, running.”
She loves to run and when asked what she gets out of running, she crinkles up her nose and says, “It makes me feel free of everything. I just feel happy when I am running.”
She runs in all the community races that are 3.1 miles or less. She would like to run longer, but her Girls on the Run coaches keep her at 3.1 miles at a time during practice. Ayianna has been a Girls on the Run member for two years, and she is currently a fourth grader at Swain East Elementary School. In just this past school year 2010-2011, Ayianna ran in six runs, five of those being 5ks and one was a 2-mile race.
Ayianna loves to share her knowledge as a seasoned runner and stated that new runners should start with a good pair of running shoes. Before races and practices she likes to eat a healthy breakfast and adds that getting a good night’s sleep helps her to run fast.
Her latest accomplishment is earning the Presidential Fitness Award. She ran her mile in 7 minutes 27 seconds in 90 degree heat.
Coach Bills, at Swain East Elementary school, stated, “She was the fastest student in her grade. What I noticed about Ayianna is that being fit and healthy is important to her. She never complains and gets after it.”
Her principal, Shirley Grant, related she is so very proud of her student and asked Ayianna for her running future plans. Ayianna beamed about how she plans to join the cross country and track teams in middle school and continue those sports in high school, and then she plans to go to the University of Alabama on a track scholarship.
Grant stated, “I have no doubt that Ayianna will meet all her running goals. I think that the Girls on the Run Program here at East Swain had something to do with Ayianna’s love of running. I’m so glad that Cherokee Choices provides this program twice a year for us here at East Swain Elementary School.”