During the ‘80s, one might have seen Jake Steinfeld on television promoting his “Body by Jake” fitness brand between sit-ups. Earlier this month Steinfeld, now chairman of The National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils, visited Clayton Middle School (CMS) in Salt Lake City.
Steinfeld came to CMS for a ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorating the installation of a new $100,000 “DON’T QUIT!” fitness center sponsored by the foundation. He was joined by Utah Governor Gary Herbert as they addressed an excited crowd of middle schoolers.
“It was really fun for the school to have that recognition,” said CMS Principal Jared Wright. Wright, in his second year as principal at CMS, is a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership and Foundations (EdLF) program in the McKay School.
Wright’s coursework in the EdLF program is almost over, but his work at CMS is just beginning—and he couldn’t be more excited. “This school is an amazing community,” said Wright.
The National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils picks three schools from three states each year to receive the fitness equipment. The program is in 24 states already and the goal of the program is to continue until all states have fitness centers. In 2018 Utah was one of the states included.
Schools are evaluated in two ways: (1) whether there is a good enough foundation of competent physical education teachers present, and (2) whether it would expand access to fitness equipment for the students. CMS met both qualifications and was chosen.
“We have students who will benefit from this—students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to equipment like this,” said Wright. Principal Wright also spoke highly of the physical education program at CMS. “We have a stellar PE program. Students actually sign up for extra PE because they like it so much.”
In fact, the physical education department at CMS secured grants in the past to help improve the students’ experiences. Grant money provided the school with cross-country ski equipment, allowing students to get outside and exercise during the snowy months.
With the addition of the new fitness equipment, CMS students have been given more opportunities to exercise, and that is exactly what Steinfeld and the foundation envisioned.
“Being idle has imperiled our children,” said Steinfeld. “To combat this problem, I’ve declared war on childhood obesity! I’ve always said that academics and fitness go hand-in-hand and I firmly believe that if you provide the schools with the tools, students will excel beyond their wildest dreams and this program is proving me right!”
News Coverage of the fitness center:
Writer: Jake Gulisane
Contact: Cindy Glad (801) 422-1922