When students return to Berkmar Middle School in Gwinnett County two months from now, they're in for a treat.
The school is among three in metro Atlanta to win a new state-of-the-art fitness center.
Physical education teacher Dana Griffith applied for the $100,000 grant through the National Foundation for Governor's Fitness Councils led by Jake Steinfeld of “Body by Jake” acclaim.
She found out just before the school year ended that Berkmar was a finalist.
“Students left for the summer knowing that and left with that excitement,” she says. “So it’s going to be wonderful when they come back to walk in and find out that not only were we a finalist, we’re actually an award winner.”
The veteran teacher had to show the innovative ways the school includes families and reaches out to community members. Among those is an afterschool mother-daughter aerobics class and a fit family club.
“It’s going to be very fun next year with our new fitness center to have this equipment... where families can come in, not just our students but their parents too,” she says.
Principal Kenney Wells says in a day and age where money for schools is already tight, a $100,000 grant for fitness is truly amazing.
“Regardless of what we’ve done, it’s always a cost factor involved,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. “To have something provided for middle school students, particularly at this level, it’s very, very uncommon.”
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new center, which a design team will help build, is expected shortly after the new school year begins.
Other fitness center winners include Harper Archer Middle School and C.L. Gideons Elementary, both in Atlanta.