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New Hope Middle School - Columbus
Sponsored by: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation

Armory news article

School shows off new equipment designed to challenge physical education students
October 27, 2009 10:04:00 AM

Kristin Mamrack

New Hope Middle SchoolAbout 250 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade New Hope Middle School students on a sunny Monday morning watched as a group of their classmates demonstrated their athletic prowess on brightly colored fitness equipment provided through a $26,000 Project Fit America grant.

As heartbeat-raising music pulsed through loudspeakers and New Hope Middle School Physical Education Teacher Andrea Adams called their names, students performed a “dance” on parallel bars and other feats, including a 30-second hula-hoop challenge, to demonstrate the equipment.

“It just gives us more options as far as P.E.,” New Hope Middle School Principal Sam Allison said of receiving the grant, noting several “fitness tests” are given throughout the school year. “It allows the kids to set goals and maintain those goals for fitness.

“They like it,” he added of the equipment, which was installed before the start of the school year. “Anytime you have something new and different, a little friendly competition, it’s a good thing.”

New Hope Middle SchoolTo get New Hope kids physically fit, Project Fit America teamed with the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.

Formed in 1990, Project Fit America is a non-profit organization which donates all-inclusive fitness programs to schools.

The program includes state of the art outdoor fitness equipment in a 40-square-foot by 60-square-foot fitness area, specifically designed to address areas where children fail fitness tests, as well as curriculum with fitness games and challenges, indoor mobile fitness equipment with related programming and in-class instruction on subjects like smoking intervention, nutrition and body awareness and understanding.

Project Fit America also provides two years of support to the school with on-site training.

“Physical education and fitness-related activities continue to be cut and/or poorly funded at a time when childhood obesity and related illnesses are at epidemic levels,” said Project Fit America’s Executive Director Stacey Cook. “Our children’s health is too important to sit idly by, which is why we applaud Blue Cross/ Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation for taking this leadership role to bring programming to Lowndes County.”

Kristin Mamrack is a staff reporter for The Commercial Dispatch.

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