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Grant Provides Students With Fitness Equipment

October 31, 2016 9:34 a.m.

  • Teacher Lynne Hinton and student Kurtis Overby look on as student Trevor Gordon works the hula hoop.

Students at Shelbyville Bridges Regional Safe School are excited about having more options to stay active during physical education classes.

The school recently received new fitness equipment, including bosu exercise balls, beaded jump ropes, weighted hula-hoops and medicine balls, thanks to a $1,000 grant from Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Healthy Kids program and WomenConnected, a giving circle within the SBL Health Foundation.

“Keeping students active and engaged for 45 minutes of physical education each day has been challenging when you don’t have a gym or much equipment,” Kyle Thompson, Bridges principal and assistant regional superintendent, said. Teachers John Mikeworth and Lynne Hinton requested the grant to provide students with more opportunities to be physically active.

The students were excited to test their hula-hoop and jump roping skills as soon as the equipment was delivered on October 26.  “It’s great to see the kids so excited, because they don’t get excited like this too often,” Mikeworth said.

Bridges is a public school for students from sixth to 12th grades who are in danger of suspension or expulsion for one reason or another. “Every student here has had some tough life circumstances and we want give them every opportunity to succeed,” Thompson said. Students are bused into the alternative school, which is housed in a pole barn, by their home district; coming from schools in Shelbyville, Pana, Windsor, Cowden-Herrick, Stewardson-Strasburg, and Central A&M.

Mikeworth and Hinton have established a close rapport with the 17 students they serve, creating more of a home-like atmosphere to help the kids feel welcome and comfortable. Students can re-enter their school when the administration feels they are ready.

“While the students may have different needs than those in other schools, the topics of health and fitness are emphasized just as they are in other schools,” Thompson said.

“We’re super thankful to receive the equipment because it will give us even more of an opportunity to focus on fitness and health,” he added. “Most of our students are not involved in extra curricular activities and many don’t have the time to devote to their fitness and health because they have so many other obligations or challenges at home.”

Thompson stressed the importance of physical education because it provides students with the exercise they need to be focused and active learners. “I’m so glad we’re getting this equipment right now because it’s especially difficult to find things for the students to do during the winter,” he said.

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