Each year, students in Coach Michael Ratliff’s Physical Education classes at Damascus Middle School begin the year with performance tests to measure their levels of fitness in areas of aerobic capacity, muscular strength, flexibility, and endurance. These are tough tests, especially if students have not chosen to use opportunities for exercise throughout the summer. The PACER test is one of these tests, and PACER day is often met with trepidation and anxiety! In the PACER test, students run back and forth across the gym as many times as they can, with each lap signaled by a beep sound. The amount of time given for each lap decreases, and the student must run progressively faster as the test continues until the student reaches his/her max lap score. In an effort to encourage and challenge students to do their best on the PACER test, School Resource Officer Alex Connelly and Principal Kevin Worley participated in the PACER test with our eighth-grade students. The gym was filled with excitement and anticipation, with students cheering each other and Officer Connelly and Mr. Worley on. Officer Connelly and Mr. Worley both ran well, but Connelly’s decision to run in his ballistic vest weighed heavy on him. Eighth graders Brody T. and Eli T. kept after it, with Eli receiving an impressive score of 71. Officer Connelly and Principal Worley definitely modeled the importance of fitness, persistence, and courage to our students, traits important for a successful school year!