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Riverside students excel in Presidential Fitness program

Sterling Kendall, Caprial Sides rank among the best in the nation

MILWAUKIE - When Riverside Elementary School honored its Presidential Fitness Award medal winners earlier this year, two sixth graders received special recognition.

Sterling Kendall and Caprial Sides have reached the highest level of physical fitness - earning the Presidential Fitness medal - every year they have attended Riverside.

Kendall has earned seven medals, proving himself among the nation's elite every year since kindergarten.

Sides has earned six medals, garnering the honor every year since she first took the fitness test as a first grader.

Earning six or seven medals is a rare accomplishment, according to Riverside physical education teacher Monica Kendall.

To receive the medal, students must earn physical fitness marks that place them among the top 15 percent in the nation for their age division.

Monica Kendall invited former professional football standout Anthony Newman to Riverside earlier this year to help pay tribute to Sterling and Caprial and their rare achievement.

'It's a great accomplishment [to earn the Presidential Medal six or seven years],' said Newman. 'It took dedication, determination, desire and self-motivation. They did it every year. Nothing stopped them. Nothing got in their way. These two young people did something that is really special every year.'

Newman awarded both students with special plaques and encouraged their classmates to strive for great accomplishments, in the classroom, as well as in athletics.

'It's exciting! I didn't think I'd get a big award,' said Sides. '[Anthony Newman's] much taller than I am and it was a little intimidating, but it was really cool.'

Both Sides and Kendall said the most difficult part of the Presidential Fitness test is the mile run.

'It takes endurance and you have to use your kick at the end,' said Kendall.

Both students are active in sports and activities outside of school.

Sides participates in soccer, basketball, cross country, track, swimming, jazz and tap dancing.

Kendall plays classic basketball, football, soccer and lacrosse.

'This means a lot, because I don't think anyone's ever gotten this many medals before at this school,' said Kendall. 'I'm really proud, and having it presented to me by Anthony Newman makes it even better.'

Kendall holds the Riverside sixth grade school record for pull-ups, at 22; and for sit-ups in a minute's time, at 101.

Kendall ran the mile in 6:44; Sides ran the mile in 7:32.

Kendall and Sides weren't the only Riverside students honored for their Presidential Fitness accomplishments. Sixth graders Trevor Schnelle and Courtney Clarke earned their third fitness awards.

Fifth grader Chloe McCartney earned her fifth award; and fifth graders Luda Matveyer, Abby Porter and Taylor Perse earned their third awards.

Fourth graders Ashlynne Setness and Daniela Veliz earned their third awards; fourth graders Zach Kimoto and Taylor Kohler earned their first awards.