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Sierra Vista kicks off fitness fundraiser

No child shall be left on his or her behind.

Posted: March 18, 2008 3:13 a.m.
Updated: May 19, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Sierra Vista students tested equipment they hope to purchase from its annual fitness fundraising drive onday morning.

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Sierra Vista Junior High School in Canyon Country is raising money to ensure that no child is left on his behind.

The school kicked off its annual fitness fundraising drive Monday by giving students a preview of the equipment that could be purchased with the money that is raised.

Seventh-grader Madison Bellissimo got to try out a Xavix electronic boxing game. The petite brunette, decked out in a green hoodie and headband for St. Patrick's Day, donned boxing gloves, hooking and
jabbing at her opponent until she knocked the "virtual" guy out.

"I'm definitely going to donate $15, because that was really fun," Madison said when her turn was up. "You get to be really physical and active."

Eighth-grader Jacob King tried out a Xavix golf game. "It's hard, but you have fun with it," he said.

The school hopes to raise enough money to purchase rowing machines, elliptical machines, stair steppers, Dance Dance Revolution platforms, pedometers and a sport wall.

Physical Education Department Chairman George Velarde would also like to raise enough to finish a rock-climbing wall and to purchase more Xavix programs, namely boxing, bowling, tennis, baseball and golf.

"Because of the budget cuts, we are asking our local community to help us," Velarde said. "We need help maintaining the facilities we have, as well as to keep improving our program."

Three years ago, Velarde completely revamped Sierra Vista's physical education program, focusing on fitness rather than sports skills.

"Our fitness scores over the last four years have improved in every category, so that shows us that our new fitness philosophy is working," Velarde said.

Local businesses are being asked to sponsor the program, with sponsorships ranging from $50 to $500.

Students and their parents can also make donations of $3 to $15, with prizes increasing according to the amount donated.

"Obviously the more (money) we get, the better, because this program benefits every student," Velarde said. "They're playing and they don't even know they're exercising."

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