Thursday, 24 October 2013 00:00
Massapequa High School physical education teachers drew new inspiration from the military to help students to do their personal best in a biannual physical fitness assessment consisting of a timed mile run around the track.
They partnered with Army Staff Sergeant Eli Henderson from the local army recruitment office to run the mile alongside students in each of nine classes throughout the day over two days. Henderson accepted the challenge, finishing each mile in about six minutes, 30 seconds and motivating the majority of the students to complete the mile under the required 13 minutes.
“I was impressed by how motivated, fit and active the students are,” Staff Sgt. Henderson said. “Out of the 20 schools I’ve worked with, I would put Massapequa in the top four as far as the physical fitness levels of students are concerned.”
The collaboration was the brainchild of physical education teachers Tim Radomski and Tom Sheedy in an effort to promote the importance of physical fitness and wellness in their students. Staff Sgt. Henderson, who was able to use the opportunity to train for an army fitness test, spoke to each class before each run and, when he finished each mile, cheered them on until they reached the finish line. The activity was performed in conjunction with the district’s physical education initiative called the Physical Best Fitnessgram. The results of each student’s assessment will be sent home in a cardio fitness-gram that explains optimal fitness ranges for high school students and whether students fell within those ranges.
While this is the first year Staff Sgt. Henderson has worked with the physical education department, his army leadership training has enabled him to work with social workers in the district over the past three years to deliver talks on topics such as anti-bullying and the dangers of substance abuse.