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TENNESSEE OPENING DAY SPOTLIGHTS

Theodore Roosevelt School, Kingsport
Sponsored by The Wellmont Foundation, Bristol
Roosevelt School Kickoff
Roosevelt School Kickoff
Roosevelt School Kickoff
Roosevelt School Kickoff
Roosevelt School Kickoff
Roosevelt School Kickoff
Roosevelt School Kickoff
Roosevelt School Kickoff
Roosevelt School Kickoff
Roosevelt School Kickoff
Roosevelt School Kickoff
Roosevelt School Kickoff
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Times Logo
Project Fit America grant funds exercise equipment at Roosevelt
By Rick Wagner

Published October 2nd, 2009

KINGSPORT — It may be a cliche, but the third time was the charm for a local elementary school physical education teacher seeking exercise equipment for her school. And 13 turned out to be a lucky number for the school. Roosevelt Elementary School on Friday celebrated the receipt of an $18,000 grant from the Wellmont Foundation through Project Fit America. The school was the 13th in the region to receive a grant from the Wellmont Foundation, which provides money for Project Fit America in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Lauren Hall, assistant director of development for the Wellmont Foundation, said Project Fit America chooses the winning applicant each year. Roosevelt and the other 12 schools serve about 15,000 children.

“It’s like an outdoor weight room,” physical education teacher Rebecca Good said after the ceremony. With sedentary lifestyles the norm, Good said the program emphasizes upper body strength, lower body strength and cardiovascular fitness. The $18,000 grant paid for the outdoor equipment, indoor equipment and training for students and teachers on how to use the equipment and program.

Students demonstrated the outdoor equipment — parallel bars, horizontal ladder (monkey bars), sit-up bench, pull-up bars, pole climb, warm-up and step-up. The exercise area is cushioned by rubber mulch from recycled automobile tires. Teachers also demonstrated weighted hula hoops in an event called the hubba bubba, won by teacher Marti Harrison. Fifth-grader James Buchanan said Project Fit America means “good sportsmanship, fun activities and a healthy body.” As a football player and ballet dancer for five years and a baseball player, he said it helps him with conditioning for muscles and with endurance. Principal Mike Fulkerson said the program and equipment will encourage students to make “activity, fitness and health a part of their everyday school experience.”

Vice Mayor Ben Mallicote said the program was appropriate for Roosevelt since its namesake, early 20th century President Theodore Roosevelt, was a champion of physical activity. “A healthy body can help lead to a healthy mind,” Superintendent Richard Kitzmiller said, adding that a healthy mind and body can help one have a successful life. Kingsport Board of Education President Susan Lodal urged students to exercise and eat well and get out and get physically active during next week’s fall break. Project Fit America is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated to getting kids fit.

Included in the Project Fit America program are activities to address students’ self-esteem, smoking intervention, fitness as fun, exercise, and understanding your body. The goal for students is to take personal responsibility for their health. In addition, the program helps teachers to defuse aggressive behavior in children through physical activities that cause the children to be more inclined to sit, listen and learn in the classroom.

Since 1990, Project Fit America’s sponsorship drive has generated $7.5 million in funding and resulted in the development of more than 600 school fitness programs in 250 cities in 40 states. The majority of program sponsors have been hospitals and health care providers. Wellmont Health System serves as the regional affiliate for Children’s Miracle Network.

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