NEW YORK (April 27, 2011) – During a special NFL PLAY 60 youth football clinic held in conjunction with the 2011 NFL Draft, Deion Sanders, Hall of Fame class of 2011 and current NFL Network analyst, along with Commissioner Roger Goodell honored four middle school children from around the country as winners of NFL Network's Keep Gym in School Fitness Program. This program is part of NFL PLAY 60, the league's youth health and fitness campaign designed to get kids active for 60 minutes a day. The Keep Gym in School program is dedicated to restoring quality Physical Education (PE) programs in America's schools. NFL Network also honored Dana Griffith from Lilburn, Georgia with their first ever PE Teacher of the Year Award. Ms. Griffith received a $10,000 award as well as a $10,000 grant for the PE program at her school, Berkmar Middle School.
The Keep Gym in School program implemented the fitness challenge in 417 schools. They increased and improved PE for approximately 348,000 students across 24 districts and awarded $585,000 in grants to 45 schools.
The winning students were chosen as the most improved and dedicated students from thousands of middle school students in the districts that took part in the Keep Gym in School Fitness Program. Receiving a trophy for their hard work and commitment to physical fitness were James Czachowski, an 8th grader from Arsenal Middle School in Pittsburgh, PA; Soung Hliang, an 8th grader from Roosevelt Middle School in Oakland, CA; Jorge Rojo, an 8th grader from Kepner Middle School in Denver, CO; and Caylin Newton from Camp Creek Middle School in Atlanta, GA. Fitness Program winners, along with their families and representatives from their schools, are attending this week's NFL Draft as guest of NFL Network.
"We are happy to recognize these young students and reward them for their hard work and commitment to physical fitness," says Dena Kaplan, senior vice president marketing, NFL Network. "Fighting childhood obesity has become a hot topic in this country and quality physical education and activity in schools is such an important factor in this fight. NFL Network is proud to contribute to this effort to increase physical activity."
Developed in association with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), the Keep Gym in School Fitness program consists of five fitness assessment tests and a fitness tracker, recording the number of minutes each student was active. Assessments were conducted in October/November and students were retested in March to measure improvements."
NFL Network received over 2,000 nominations and almost 200 online applications for their PE Teacher of the Year. Ms. Griffith was chosen for her commitment to physical education both in and out of school and her attempts to involve the whole community in their children's fitness education.
"Ms. Griffith epitomizes the dedicated teachers we want to recognize and applaud. Her hard work and commitment to educating children about health, nutrition and physical fitness both inside and outside of the classroom sets an example for her fellow educators as well as parents about the importance of fighting childhood obesity by teaching healthy habits at a young age," added Kaplan.
For more information, visit www.KeepGymInSchool.com.