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Icon cuts ribbon on Caloosa fitness center

By Staff | Oct 16, 2015

Jake Steinfeld, chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, joined students and faculty at Caloosa Middle School as well as many education dignitaries to cut the ribbon on a new $100,000 fitness center and break in the new equipment.

“Body by Jake”?Steinfeld spoke with the students during a ceremony to celebrate the event, telling them how he loved their energy and how tough things were when he was their age, having no confidence or self-esteem.

“Middle school was tough for me because I was overweight and had a stutter. My dad got me a set of weights and they changed my life,” Steinfeld said. “It takes a community and when everyone works together, it’s amazing what can happen. It’s amazing when you have confidence what you can accomplish.”

Steinfeld said those who exercise are less likely to smoke, do drugs or join a gang.

“You can look in that mirror and feel great about who you are. Academics and physical fitness go hand in hand. This is no Democrat or Republican issue, this is a kids’ issue,” Steinfeld said. “When you’re strong, this country is strong.”

Steinfeld served as chairman of the California Governors’ Council on physical fitness with his friend, former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006. Six years later, Steinfeld started his current foundation with the goal of putting fitness centers in elementary and middle schools nationwide with the help of companies such as Coca-Cola, Nike and Amerigroup.

This year, Steinfeld has been to Arkansas, Texas and Illinois, and Wednesday made his first stop in Florida, where he made the announcement that their schools would also get a fitness center.

The foundation chooses four states to visit each year, with three schools in each state receiving their own fitness center.

Steinfeld contacted Gov. Rick Scott and told him about the opportunity, and asked him to identify schools that showed innovation in fitness and nutrition and reward them with the Live Positively Fitness Centers.

Caloosa, along with schools in Palatka and Miami, won out over 240 other schools.

“The equipment and machines the students will learn how to use through their PE classes for circuit training,” said Dr. Ann Cole, Caloosa Middle School principal. “We are fortunate to share the field with the city, so our students have access to the fields and track. We also have a large gym, so PE is a big thing.”

Melissa Taylor, head of the PE department, said this is an exciting day for her after waiting months to hear back.

“I cannot wait for the kids to use the equipment. When I found out about it I literally jumped for joy I was so happy.” Taylor said. “Some schools are limiting the number of teachers in schools. It’s important to have physical activity in schools because it increases their brain activity which improves their grades.”

Following the assembly, there was a ribbon-cutting before some lucky students got to give the equipment a test drive with some circuit training as Steinfeld watched with pride.