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Lansdowne High students complete the Army Challenge

Lansdowne High School students got a break from the classroom Wednesday with an activity that gave them a glimpse of life in the military.

From 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the school's rear parking lot, about 200 students participated in Army Challenge, an event that tested the students' physical condition and teamwork.

Throughout the warm, overcast day, three of the event's seven stations offered students an opportunity to flex their muscles and do as many pull ups and push ups as they could for prizes, such as water bottles, hats and backpacks.

Other stations challenged the students mentally. One, for example, forced a team of students to create a pathway from one end of a mat to the other using only two planks.

But the runaway favorite was the station equipped with an adapted flight simulator. The machine rocked and flipped two students at a time as a screen inside the enclosure flashed images of a roller coaster ride.

The May 2 event marked the second time this year that the Army Challenge was on the high school's campus on Hollins Ferry Road.

First Sgt. Victor Vaughan, an Army instructor for the school's JROTC program, said though the Army uses the challenge as a recruiting tool.

But he sees it offering a wide range of benefits to students.

"I don't look at it as a recruiting tool. I look at it as a challenge program," Vaughan said. "We promote to them about staying in school, staying drug free and conditioning their body."

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