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SHMS Celebrates Project Fit America Grant

Baptist Health Madisonville President Robert Ramey Students use step equipment. Students use rope climbing equipment.

Baptist Health Madisonville joined with Hopkins County School administrators, teachers and students to celebrate the launch of Project Fit America at South Hopkins Middle School. The Oct. 14 celebration included a ribbon cutting and the students demonstrating exercises on the school’s new outdoor fitness equipment, or the “fit pit!”

A grant awarded to South Hopkins Middle School by Baptist Health Madisonville made possible the donation of the PFA program which includes: state-of-the-art fitness equipment specifically designed to address the deficit areas where children fail fitness tests; indoor fitness equipment; a dynamic curriculum with games, activities and challenges for kids with the PFA outdoor and indoor equipment. The academic emphasis is to create “physically educated” children and to empower them to take personal responsibility of their health with enthusiasm.  PFA also provides support to the school for two years along with on-site training with the PE Teacher.  The initiative goes beyond traditional fitness and is also helping students build social skills, character and leadership skills.  This is not your average gym class.  The activities are both fun and intense.

“We applied for this grant because meaningful, high quality physical education is one of the very best strategies we have to teach students how to become healthier individuals,” stated SHMS principal Jan Richey.  “With the help of Project Fit America and Baptist Health Madisonville I foresee our students continuing to achieve physically and mentally, not only in the classroom as young teens, but in their lives as they continue to make choices and mature.”

 “At Baptist Health Madisonville, we’re passionate about improving wellness in the communities we serve, and we especially want to do our part in the fight against childhood obesity as we help to encourage healthy lifestyles for all children,” said hospital president Robert Ramey.  “This new equipment will allow students to play, stay healthy and have fun all at the same time.”

“Research does show that not only is physical education important for a student’s physical development, it actually helps kids read and learn math,” said Stacey Cook, Executive Director of Project Fit America.  “Physically active kids are better learners.  Quality fitness in education has a direct impact not only on a child’s health but also their academic success. We are extremely proud of our partnership with Baptist Health Madisonville for their commitment to bring this program to your community and for their dedication to improving the health and wellness of local children.”

South Hopkins Middle School is the thirteenth school to receive this grant since Baptist Health Madisonville began sponsoring the PFA program in 2014. Each grant is valued at over $16,500.