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Sierra Vista fitness expo

Posted: April 3, 2008 9:06 p.m.
Updated: June 4, 2008 5:05 a.m.

Sierra Vista Junior High School is hosting a fitness expo Friday to showcase to the community its new physical education curriculum and commitment to health and fitness.

Driven by a greater awareness of childhood obesity and other ailments related to a lack of physical activity, four years ago Sierra Vista began restructuring its physical education regime.

"The old P.E. curriculum wasn't working," said George Velarde, chair of Sierra Vista's Physical Education Department, citing his school's "horrendous" state fitness test scores.

The problem, he explained, was the school's focus on traditional sports skills that catered to the minority who participate in school teams. Now, the "number one priority is health and fitness," said Velarde, who explained the school's efforts to inculcate healthy fitness habits in all the school's 1,400 students.

To achieve its goal, Sierra Vista has introduced technology-driven fitness programs such as HOPSports and XaviX. XaviX engages children by using interactive technology, television screens and special equipment that allow them to participate in simulated bass fishing, tennis and even workouts with Jackie Chan. The ultimate goal is for students to enjoy exercising while appreciating its benefits.

Indeed, Sierra Vista's fitness test scores are now above the state average and there are even fewer student disciplinary problems. 
The expo ends a three-week fundraising drive with a goal to raise $12,000. Sierra Vista has so far raised about $9,500. Over the previous two years, the school has collected $40,000 in community and business donations.

Sierra Vista plans to purchase Dance Dance Revolution platforms, rowing machines, elliptical bicycles, XaviX equipment, Trikke tricycles, pedometers and heartrate monitors. Additionally, the school hopes to complete a rock climbing wall and make additions to its new Fitness Center's sport wall.

The school's Second Annual Fitness Expo takes place 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. during regular physical education classes. The public is invited to join students as they participate in health and fitness activities at five information stations. They include stations about HOPSports and XaviX; the school's fitness center; nutrition; and two stations at which HOPSports fitness trainers will give demonstrations on cardio kickboxing and other workouts.


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