School wins $100K grant for PE intiatives

LILBURN -- Gov. Nathan Deal and the Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils recently announced three winning schools that will receive state-of-the-art fitness centers. Among them: Berkmar Middle.

The local school received the award for demonstrating new and innovative ways for promoting student physical activity and wellness, according to a news release from the Office of the Governor. Berkmar will receive a state-of-the-art Live Positively Fitness Center as part of the campaign.

"This is an exciting day for Georgia students," said Gov. Nathan Deal. "Improving the health of our children is one of my top priorities, and increasing the availability of physical activity opportunities will help ensure that our children are getting the exercise their bodies need to learn and develop into healthy adults."

Deal added that "these three schools have worked hard to bring innovative fitness ideas to their students, and it's paid off."

Dana Griffith, a physical education teacher at Berkmar Middle since 2002, said the Lilburn school is "lucky to have a principal who gives us a tremendous amount of support in the area of physical education. He supports us with all of our initiatives."

Initiatives at the school include a running club and family fit club, which encourages parents to come out to the school and workout with students, she said.

Principal Kenney Wells said it's "easy to support passionate teachers (like Griffith). She's one of those who continues to excel."

Her efforts, Wells said, have been instrumental in pushing health initiatives at Berkmar.

"It's not everyday that your school gets a $100,000 grant," Wells said. "We're very excited."

In the fall, new fitness centers will be dedicated during ribbon cutting ceremonies at the school. The award will be comprised of strength training equipment, cardio fitness equipment and interactive exercise games.

According to its website, the National Foundation for Governor's goal is to "build a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world."