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A group of students encourages its team at Mountain View Middle School's Firefighter Challenge Thursday. 033 Students complete a box challenge, getting water from one box to another, without using a bucket, at the Firefighter Challenge at Mountain View Middle School Thursday. Kathy Remillard Kathy Remillard, Correspondent (KATHY REMILLARD/Union Leader Correspondent)

Firefighter Challenge teaches students team-building skills

GOFFSTOWN - Eighth-graders at Mountain View Middle School had the opportunity to develop team-building skills at its annual Firefighter Challenge.

Three teams each picked several runners to complete a physical agility course similar to that given to rookie firefighters.

"This is a scaled-down version of the old physical agility test," said Deputy Fire Chief Mark Hurley, who developed the program when he was in Hooksett.

Now in its sixth year, Assistant Principal Jen Gillis said the program builds positive relationships among students, and with ties to specific curriculum, reinforces classroom lessons.

Students spent time during the week writing, learning about fire safety and brushing up on the history of the Goffstown Fire Department, Gillis said.

"We also talk about Paws pride," she said, a feature of the school's new positive behavior initiative, as students cheered on not just their own teams, but other teams as well.

Students, some painted from head to toe with their team colors, screamed and cheered for their peers as they hauled hoses, hoisted ladders and went through a wooden obstacle course.

Other areas of competition included signage, a cheer, best banner and best colors.

The team that earned the most combined points earned bragging rights until next year's competition.

Gillis said there were activities, like playing music and writing stories, that could be enjoyed by all students, not just athletes.

"We try to find some domain for every kid to excel," said Gillis.

In addition to the Goffstown Fire Department, the event was sponsored by Crispin's House and the Goffstown Lions Club, who donated shirts for the students.

"There are a lot of community volunteers that make sure this stays going year after year," Gillis said. "We couldn't pull this off without the Goffstown Fire Department ... they're unbelievable."

Gillis said with the Challenge held in the fall, the cooperation and teamwork will last throughout the year.

"We do it this time of year, hoping that this is something that brings them together," she said.

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