District 146 holds Gets Fit Fun Walk, grows wellness initiatives amongst schools

District 146 Gets Fit 2015 from CCSD146 on Vimeo.

Neither rain nor cold could keep away more than 200 students, parents and staff from attending the District 146 Gets Fit Fun Walk on Saturday, May 30. Enthusiastic walkers, runners and mothers with strollers circled the hallways of Central Middle School. With each lap completed, participants were given a raffle ticket for a drawing of health-themed gift baskets and prizes donated by District 146 employees.

Sprinting toward the finish to receive yet another raffle ticket, Jacob Nendza, red in the face, exclaimed, “I just did three miles!” as his little brother, Matthew shuffled after him. “They’re going to sleep great tonight!” said Steven Nendza of his two children who attend Fierke Education Center. Jacob grabs a bottled water, donated by Quest Foods, and bursts ahead on his next lap.

“With six laps equaling one mile, some families walked five miles or more as they strived to earn as many raffle tickets as possible. It was a great success!” said Trisha Honkoski, Administrative Assistant of Curriculum and Instruction.

Meanwhile, the Central gyms buzzed with energy as students participated in the MLB Pitch, Hit and Run competitions. Children were timed as they rounded bases, girls and boys lined up to pitch into netted targets, and the longest baseball hits were measured. Contest winners received medals and certificates for first and second place in each category. In addition, all participants of the Fun Walk received a voucher for two free White Sox tickets.

“This is another example of how District 146 gives and comes together to provide healthy opportunities for our community to enjoy,” said Ron Vandewiel, Wellness Coordinator for the District, who organized the event along with Fulton Physical Education teacher, Zach Scipione, and others.

“This is a great event to bring the community together and encourage health and wellness throughout our school district,” Scipione said.

The District 146 Wellness Committee is a new initiative created in 2010. “We developed a cutting edge wellness policy for the District that focused on increased activity, improved nutrition and an overall focus on health,” Vandewiel said.

As a part of this new program, the district hosts an intramural program for the elementary schools, a “Walk to School Day,” Biggest Loser contests, and a more nutritious hot lunch program for students.

“A healthier student leads to better learning, improved behavior and ultimately less trips to the doctor,” Vandewiel said. “It is my hope that what we are teaching now will lead to life-long habits and a healthier adulthood.”

The program doesn’t end with the students, but it is extended to the staff of District 146. Throughout the year the District has a pedometer program for staff members and their spouses to encourage more physical activity throughout the day. There are also Zumba and Body Sculpt classes for staff, as well as a running club.

“For staff, my hope is to increase morale and encourage people to be more aware of their health,” he said.

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