How do you teach young kids to make good choices and live responsible lives?

You Get R.E.A.L.!, that’s how.

Coldwater (Ohio) Exempted Village Schools today completed its annual Get Responsible Enough About Life! Week for fifth- through eighth-graders. The program is a character-building campaign that was first held at the middle school in the spring of 1998. Kids spend the week learning tolerance, listening to motivational speakers, performing service projects and more.

“It’s about life lessons, overcoming adversity, sticking with things,” explained eighth-grade social studies teacher Aaron Weigel. “The kids learn that not everybody is from the same mold. It’s an awesome message.”

Get R.E.A.L. Week is loads of fun but also delivers a strong message: “Every choice has a consequence.”

Students run strong, encourage others

stadium crowd at 5k run

Earlier today, more than 400 children gathered at Cavalier Stadium for warm-ups before beginning the Get R.E.A.L. 5K. Scattered through the crowd were high school students dressed as Minions to rally the boys and girls.

5k run participants in action

When signaled, the children, teachers and community members dashed from the starting line. Encouraging signs dotted the route; local residents stood on sidewalks to cheer the runners as they passed. Groups of noisy elementary students lined up near the school to high-five the runners as they scurried by.

supports of 5k runners offering high fives

totally promotional team members cheering on 5k runners

Several employees of Totally Promotional cheered on runners near a colorful Get R.E.A.L. banner the company donated to show community support for Get R.E.A.L. Week. As a gift for the students’ hard work, Totally Promotional also provided customized bags with the school’s Cavalier mascot to be used as door prizes.

Go the extra mile

interviewing the 5k run winner
Pictured on the left is our Creative Writer Shelley Grieshop talking with the winner of the 5K, Isaac Schoen.

The first runner to cross the finish line was Isaac Schoen, an eighth grader. After he caught his breath, he explained what Get R.E.A.L. Week is all about.

“It teaches us how to prepare for high school, how to get the work done and stay ahead. It’s about commitment,” Schoen said.

His friend, Tanner Muhlenkamp, said the program helps kids learn lessons about life.

“We learn to be committed, always give it your all and don’t lower your expectations,” the seventh grader said.

finish line at the 5k run

Many of those who finished the race went back to cheer on others who were still on the course. Middle School Principal Dan Pohlman, an avid runner, finished the race surrounded by students. He grabbed a water bottle before heading back down the 5K route to greet those on their way in.

“Good job! You made it!” he told a group of girls who started to sprint toward the finish line.

The principal gave lots of encouraging words to his students today. But his most important message prior to the race was also fitting words of wisdom for their journey in life:

“Remember what you learned during Get R.E.A.L. Week.”

Read about other ways the team at Totally Promotional is making a difference by visiting the Totally Giving Back web page.


Shelley Grieshop is a former newspaper journalist who earned more than a dozen Associated Press awards for her in-depth research and writing skills. In May 2016, she joined Totally Promotional as a creative writer. She currently writes company blogs about branding, marketing, logos, wedding planning and much more. One of her life goals is to teach people when to use hyphens and apostrophes.

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