Tuesday, May 6, 2003

McAuley working off grant for $200,000
in fitness machines

By Maggie Downs
The Cincinnati Enquirer

McAuley High School students will now be put to the test, thanks to a grant that provided the all-girls' school with state-of-the-art fitness equipment.

McAuley is one of two Tristate schools - the other is Mount Healthy High School - to snag $200,000 in new fitness machines. The students will be tracked as they train, and their results will be analyzed and used for future projects by the foundation that provided the equipment.

"You're seeing more and more women are getting active," said Lynne Morris, physical education and health teacher. "They realize they have just as much of a right to be in the weight room as guys do."

Assistant principal Nicki Brainard applied for the grant from a program called "LIFT America" (Leadership in Fitness Training), which provided more than $200,000 in fitness machines.

The grant is distributed through the National School Fitness Foundation, a nonprofit organization in American Fork, Utah.

Students at the College Hill school will join the ranks of 200,000 students in 14 states who already have access to the program. For research purposes, the grant stipulates that everyone who uses the room must have her progress tracked.

The assessment information is collected by school staff (volunteers for now) on forms provided by the foundation. That information is sent to the foundation for analysis and use in future projects.

The program consists of 24 stations - 12 aerobic, 12 strength - that take about a half-hour to complete. "I love it," said Brainard, who has been using the equipment since it arrived in February. "What I like is that in 25 minutes total, you've worked just about every muscle in your entire body."

At the end of three years - the life span of the grant - schools have the option to purchase all of the equipment for $1 - or to sign another three-year agreement and receive new equipment.

"It's a great opportunity to give kids a whole different aspect of fitness," Morris said. "And for us teachers, we don't have to leave the building to work out."

E-mail mdowns@enquirer.com

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