Teaching students healthy living

News Photo by Julie Goldberg Anneliese Mathias hula hoops at Thunder Bay Junior High on Friday during the Project Healthy School kickoff event.

ALPENA — At Thunder Bay Junior High, students are learning how to be healthy through Project Healthy School. An assembly Friday was part one of six events that will happen during the school year to teach students about building healthy habits.

The school has goals that will be reached throughout the school year. On Friday the goal was to teach students how to spend less time in front of a television or computer screen and be more active.

“There are six steps to integrate into your school,” teacher Christin Sobeck said. “Our assembly was all about students having less screen time and exercising more. So we’re hoping to stir up some interest and inspire them to move.”

High school students were at the assembly showing the students different ways to be active. Players from the high school football, volleyball, and soccer teams showed the students different activities they can participate in. There were also hula hoopers and tumblers showing the junior high students different activities.

“One of the cool things that we started a couple years back was bringing the high school students here because those are our role models for our kids in our community,” Sobeck said.

Sobeck said the junior high students get to see their friends, their brother or sister, or kids they see throughout the community and it inspires them and motivates them.

“A year or two from now when the junior high kids are now high schoolers, they want to come back and do the assembly,” she said.

The other goals that will be reached throughout the school year are how to eat fewer unhealthy and fatty foods, how to be active every day, how to choose fewer sugary foods and beverages, and how to eat more fruits and vegetables.

PHS is a unique community and University of Michigan collaborative project that started in 2004. It is designed to improve present and future health of students. It also provides a school-based program to reduce childhood obesity and its long-term health risks. The program targets students in the transition grades of fifth and sixth when they go into middle school. Eighty-eight schools in Michigan are participating in PHS this school year.

Overall, Sobeck thinks that the kickoff event went well on Friday.

“It was fun,” she said. “The kids were participating by cheering them on. They were watching them and cheering loud. You could see a lot of smiles on the faces and it was awesome.”

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.