Preston Stickley-Orndorff, 8, a third grade student at Sandy Hook Elementary in Strasburg, looks around the school’s new gymnasium during an assembly Monday afternoon. Gym classes start today in the new gym.

STRASBURG – The Lions Quest program is new, just starting in August, but it is already showing benefits at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“I think they are better able to talk to each other about the problems they are having as opposed to just walking away or getting mad,” said Principal Robin Shrum.

The Lions Club supports Lions Quest, a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade social and emotional learning program in use by educators around the world.

Social and emotional skills provide the foundation for dealing with anger and frustration, preventing negative behaviors and helping kids learn positive behaviors with the goal of improving school performance and developing more adjusted children who grow into well-adjusted adults, Shrum has said previously.

The Woodstock Lions Club partnered with Sandy Hook to apply for a $10,000 Lions Quest grant from the Lions International Foundation. The grant paid for Lions Quest instructors in May to come into the school for the day and provide training to the teachers.

On Monday, inside the school’s new auxiliary gym, 220 students, out of 930 students, received a Pride Award certificate for being a role model in their classroom. School officials also awarded 40 certificates to Lions Quest Leaders.

The program took place in three ceremonies at different times to accommodate all of the students.

The students in the last ceremony, which took place in the afternoon, clapped and cheered as classmates’ names were called and they walked up to get their certificate.

Sandy Hook students saw the new gym for the first time when they walked in for the ceremony.

Levi DuBose, a second-grader, said he thought the gym was big.

“Its cool,” he said.

The auxiliary gym is 90 x 50 square feet and cost $540,000 to build. It was needed to provide space when the gym had to be canceled or held outdoors when the space was needed for another event, Shrum said.

“It is the first time we have been able to hold class celebrations. We never had the space before,” she said.

Sandy Hook will hold its first gym classes in the new gym today.

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