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Neoga Middle School, Kansas
Sponsored by: Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System
Kick-Off Ceremony October 6, 2010


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Online Press Release and Photos:

"PFA Dedication Program"


"Having Fun Getting Fit"

December 16, 2010
Havin' fun gettin' fit
Bill Grimes Effingham Daily News
NEOGA — Nikki Miah wasn’t having much trouble mastering the weighted hoops that her physical education teacher let her and some of her classmates try out during a recent school day.

“It’s about balance,” Miah said. “A regular hula hoop has less weight, so it’s harder to keep your balance.”

The three-pound hoops — a heavier version of the venerable Wham-O! Hula Hoop — are part of a new fitness program at the school sponsored by Project Fit America and funded by Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon.

Physical education teacher Maureen Letizia said the Project Fit curriculum was kicked off Oct. 6, but is only now starting to be introduced to individual classes.

“We’ve implemented the program in bits and pieces,” Letizia said. “What’s nice is that it fits into our curriculum by adding a thought process.

 “It gets them moving without thinking they are moving.”

Gone is the drudgery — to some — of jogging laps on the track. Instead, the program includes a number of games that incorporate fitness activities — such as the weighted hoops.

“We’re fooling them into getting fit,” Letizia said. “If you can get a kid moving 30 minutes a day, his cardiovascular endurance and strength will increase.”

Not only did the $16,000 grant enable the school to buy hoops, but an outdoor fitness area was developed. Letizia said the public is invited to use the fitness area, which includes pull-up bars, a situp bench and other tools.

Sixth-grader Vicki Alumbaugh said the hoops help make fitness fun.

“It helps us exercise in a fun way,” she said.

Miah said the motivated student can use the program to become more fit.

“It’s fun to do because you can challenge yourself and see what you can do,” she said.

Principal Seth James said the program also has an academic component that helps encourage students to practice good nutrition habits and positive lifestyle choices.

“This program allows us to educate the whole child,” James said. “One side is physical fitness using workout stations, but there’s also the side of learning how to make good decisions that will serve our students well.”

 The California-based Project Fit America was founded in 1990. The project has facilitated hospital to school contributions of more than $9 million nationwide since then. Overall, more than 750 schools in 40 states have participated in the program.


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