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January 4, 2005 > Pointing Students Down The Path Of Good Health

Pointing Students Down The Path Of Good Health

Centerville Junior High Opens New Fitness Center

by Mekala Raman

On Jan. 19 Centerville Junior High School will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony at the formal opening of the Centerville Fitness Center. With the help of the Student Council, PTA, Coca-Cola, and 24 Hour Fitness, Centerville Junior High has opened a fitness center that is much more than an everyday weight room, designed to point students down the path of good health.

About four years ago, then Vice Principal Rob Vares was working out at a 24 Hour Fitness center and noticed that a few of the exercise machines were sitting in a corner, not being used. Upon inquiring as to their condition, Vares learned that 24 Hour Fitness was going to dispose of them. As the machines were in working condition, Vares arranged for them to go to Centerville Junior High.

After receiving the large donation from 24 Hour Fitness, the process of forming a fitness center began to gel. The school received monetary assistance from the Student Council who put about $10,000 towards the cause. The PTA donated approximately $6,000 and the Coca-Cola Company is expected to give $3,000. With these funds, Centerville plans to purchase treadmills, step machines and stationary bikes.

"The P.E. program has changed," said Dr. Garo Mirigan, who is interested in giving the children more physical exercise to reduce obesity among students. "It's not just 'throw the ball' anymore, [the students] really work out and when they warm up, they name the muscles they are using."

Other schools around the country have built similar facilities and Centerville is the first school in the Tri-City area to establish such a program. Like other school-based fitness centers around the U.S., they are considering opening it up after school hours to the public for a small fee.

This money would not be kept as profit, but would pay for some members of the staff to supervise the training. These plans are considerations for the future; the fitness center's first priority is to cater to the students.

"The school has also purchased a computer fitness program that allows the students to confidentially insert personal information so that they can keep track of their physical health," mentioned Dr. Mirigan.

The program uses the information to see how students across the country are performing and to form a national standard that students can work with to improve their health. Using the confidential date the student has entered into the computer, the program may find out that a student is an occasional smoker. It would then remind the student that smoking is not the best thing for his or her health and quitting is the next step to achieving total fitness.

In addition to these state-of-the-art programs, two teachers, Eric Tippetts and Teresa Velasquez, are certified to provide training to the students. The instructors have pasted pictures and written instructions on the machines as to how to use them properly to avoid serious injury. They have also designed a routine in which students will have timed workouts at each "station". These resources give students a chance to track their health over the two years that they spend at Centerville Junior High School.

The official opening of the Centerville Fitness Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at Centerville Junior High School on Jan. 19, from 4-6 p.m.

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