With the lights dimmed as they sit barefoot on mats, students at Thurston Middle School are usually quiet and contemplative as they practice yoga during physical education class.
This week, however, was quite different as students screamed and cheered loudly while competing in the school's fourth annual Epic Challenge.
Nearly 800 students raced each other and raised money by finding sponsors as they competed in a weeklong event of physical activities. The Epic Challenge is the Laguna Beach school's biggest fundraising event of the year and aims to promote a healthy environment, bodies, minds and kids.
Recently named a "school to watch" by the California Department of Education and the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, Thurston Middle School was one of only two schools in Orange County to make the list. Pioneer Middle School in Tustin was also named.
"Our main goal is to create the 21st century classroom," said Principal Jenny Salberg. "[Epic] is an amazing opportunity for kids to participate in team building."