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Hilton Head school wins fitness award and $25,000

Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts will get $25,000 after being named a regional winner Tuesday in a national competition to promote students' physical activity.

The school now moves to the national finals of the Active Schools Acceleration Project competition and the chance to compete for $100,000. Two national winners will be named June 13 in Washington, D.C.

The competition began in February with help from the Partnership for a Healthier America, which has been promoted by first lady Michelle Obama.

The Hilton Head school was one of nine regional winners. Others were in California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Texas.

The school won for its Strength Summed Up Team, a weightlifting club for students in first through fifth grades that meets each morning on school days to exercise and learn the effect their choices have on their health, said physical-education teacher Jackie Wheeler in a news release.

Principal Gretchen Keefner thanked the community partners that have supported the program for two years, including Powerhouse Gym, Island Physical Therapy, Odyssey Health Club and the SERG Group, with Chef Glenn Keller of Frankie Bones as the lead chef supporting the team. Students interact with community sponsors and learn healthy eating habits, as well as proper stretching and lifting techniques, the release said.

"It's wonderful to see one of our district's schools recognized as a national model for fitness that can help address the serious problem of childhood obesity," superintendent Valerie Truesdale said in the release.

Related content

  1. Active Schools Acceleration Project
  2. Partnership for a Healthier America
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