Saturday, February 15, 2003

Lebanon gets $400,000 to help students improve fitness

Lebanon will use $400K fitness grant

By Gina Buccino
Enquirer contributor

LEBANON - Lebanon City Schools' physical education program is about to receive a makeover.

The district has received a $400,000 National Fitness Grant to create fitness centers at Berry Middle School and the high school. The money pays for all the equipment and instructor training.

Jennifer Moormeier, director of technology and secondary education for Lebanon City Schools, said the center at the high school should be ready in April, while Berry's will open in May.

School districts can apply for the grant, administered by the National School Fitness Foundation, if they meet specific requirements such as room for the center and that the curriculum can be implemented in the physical education classes.

The goal is to teach students why they should become physically fit, how to become fit and how to stay fit.

Students will receive training in four areas: muscular strength and endurance, cardio-respiratory ability, flexibility and body composition, and knowing the difference between lean muscle mass and fat mass.

The program is designed for students in grades 7-12, and the center will also be available after school. Moormeier said educators are planning programs outside the school day.

Tom Olson, principal at Berry, said having a fitness center will help students learn "the proper way to train and create a good lifelong habit."

"The habit that is formed through such a program will promote a healthy lifestyle and give our students a good foundation in basic fitness."

Sam Ison, principal at Lebanon High School, said: "I have been a strong believer in fitness for our youth. My goal is to see results where our students have better physical fitness habits and awareness. We want to beat the national trend which shows youth on the incline for a healthy physical fitness."

Olson said Berry students do engage in fitness work in physical education classes by running and stretching. They also learn how to bowl, golf and play softball and volleyball.

Moormeier said the program is permanent, although the district can reapply every three years for funds to update equipment.

High school students now go the YMCA every Friday as part of their physical education classes. Educators believe the new fitness center will enhance the program.

Ison said physical education instructors will now have to decide how to implement the program into the present physical education classes.

Olson said the program also allows a student to work at their own level, while learning how to pace themselves while exercising.

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