Helping students reach and maintain a high level of personal fitness is the goal of every Huntington School District physical education teacher.
Longtime faculty member Lynn Hefele helped spearhead Huntington’s participation in a pilot program organized by the Suffolk Zone of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
Teams from Southdown Primary School, Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School and Woodhull Intermediate School were among a dozen Suffolk schools participating in this year’s pilot program which culminated with a competition at Lincoln Elementary School in Sayville.
Nearly 50 Huntington youngsters participated, with six boys and six girls from the fourth and fifth grades at each of the schools being chosen. The competition highlighted each of the components of health related fitness.
Six Huntington teachers were involved in preparing the students for the Fit Kids Club competition and four of them attended the event in Sayville. Carrie Postel and Eric Triolo coached the Woodhull team while John Walsh and Beth Vogelsang led the STEM squad. Mrs. Hefele and Adam Sherrard coached the Southdown team.
“The mission of the Suffolk Zone’s Fit Kids Club is to empower our students with the skills, tools, training and confidence to live a healthier lifestyle while challenging them through difficult physical challenges,” according to the group’s website. “Our goal is for the students to learn something about themselves and feel invigorated as well as seeing how much they can truly accomplish when driven. We will develop the students’ strength both physically and mentally and help them to reach their fullest potential. They will feel part of a team by offering support, encouragement and inspiration to their teammates while helping them achieve their highest level of fitness.”
All of the students involved in the initiative also participate in the following individual events:
• Flexibility as measured by the sit and reach.
• Cardiovascular endurance as measured by a shuttle run.
• Core muscular strength/endurance as measured by a one minute sit-up test.
• Upper body muscular strength/endurance as measured by a one minute plank to push test
Four of the six athletes from each grade level team also competed in an obstacle course challenge. For 10 minutes, each team took turns doing 15 box jumps followed by a tire flip, 30 jump ropes and a crab walk. Awards were given to the top team and the top athlete in each individual event.
“It is the hope of the Suffolk Zone that the program expands to more schools and more grade levels in the county to help promote fitness,” Mrs. Hefele said.