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Meadows works out with the best of ’em

Local elementary school earns statewide recognition for its efforts in fitness competition

Posted: June 22, 2010 6:45 p.m.
Updated: June 23, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Meadows Elementary kindergartner Nigel Shirley jumps a hurdle as part of a triathlon staged at the Valencia school back in February as part of a fundraiser for the American Heart Association.

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Having exercised with students almost every other day for a month, teachers at Meadows Elementary School will have little problem jumping for joy today when they learn their school is a finalist in a statewide challenge to keep kids fit.

The school was named a finalist Tuesday in the 2010 Governor’s Challenge for having encouraged almost every Meadows student to take part in a monthlong fitness contest.

“I’m very proud, very excited for our school to be one of the finalists,” said Meadows Principal Chad Rose.

Out of 2,649 competing schools, Meadows is the only school in the Santa Clarita Valley — one of just 19 schools in the Los Angeles area and of 127 schools statewide — to be named a finalist in the competition.

The contest promotes increased physical activity and better nutrition among California’s youngsters.

Finalists are based on the percentage and number of students in the school who successfully completed the challenge of being active 30 to 60 minutes a day, at least three days a week for a month.

Meadows Elementary School, which is in the Newhall School District, had 99.8 percent of its students successfully complete the challenge.

“This is all thanks to our PE (physical education) teacher extraordinaire, Mrs. Beth Judge,” Rose said.
Judge, who led Meadows students through a month-long regimen of physical activity, said she is also thrilled at the school’s accomplishment.

“I’m so proud of my students that they cared that much about being active,” she said. “I didn’t tell them about any prize. All I told them was that they could get a certificate signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“We decided to make fitness a big deal at the school this year,” she said, referring to the school year that just ended.

Each of the school finalists is now eligible for prizes including 11 new fitness centers, each valued at $100,000, and 11 Regional Awards of $5,000 cash towards the purchase of physical-activity equipment.

Prize winners are expected to be announced in September at a ceremony in Sacramento.

“It would be a wonderful way to enhance our physical fitness program,” Chad said about the prospect of the school winning one of the prizes.

Jake Steinfeld, chairman of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, thanked Chad Rose and Beth Judge in a news release issued Tuesday.

“I’m thrilled to be able to recognize Meadows Elementary School’s efforts. Thank you, Principal Rose, and thank you, Beth Judge, for stepping up as your school’s Governor’s Challenge coordinators. You are clearly passionate about getting your kids active and making sure they eat well, and I’m a big believer that passion leads and everything else follows,” Steinfeld said.

More than 1.3 million participants across the state recorded more than 11 million days of physical activity during the monthlong competition.

The California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting physical activity for all Californians with an emphasis on children and youth. Schwarzenegger is its honorary chairman.

 

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