Students at Williams Preparatory Academy Middle School, 2710 S Dearborn St, received a Bear of a surprise last week.
That’s because the Williams students celebrated the opening of the school’s new fitness center with Chicago Bear wide receiver Rashied Davis. The refurbished fitness center is part of the NFL Networks “Keep Gym in School” program, which stresses the importance of physical activity in and outside of school.
Davis was joined by NFL Network star Solomon Wilcots and executives from Comcast for a pep rally in the school’s gym. During the pep rally, Davis and Wilcots highlighted the importance of staying active for at least 60 minutes every day. The Williams’ pom squad and band entertained students and guests. After the pep rally, students went outside where they ran through a large inflatable helmet to begin a minicamp. Davis led students though a series of fitness tests and football drills, from warm-ups to simple shuttle runs.
The fitness center features new equipment, including elliptical machines, treadmills, stationary bicycles and other exercise machines. It will be open to not only the students, but also the community after school hours.
Nearly one-third of American children and adolescents are overweight or obese, and nationwide childhood obesity has more than tripled since 1980. Only 35% of students are physically active for 60 minutes at least 5 days per week. CPS has taken steps to fight childhood obesity with programs like new the nutritional standards which offer students more healthy options for breakfasts and lunches served in school CPS also encourages schools across the district to incorporate more physical activity into the school day, like recess.