Friday, May 26, 2006

Walking earns check for school

Silver Creek gets $500 from legislators

Express Staff Writer

Students at the Silver Creek Alternative School in Hailey receive a $500 check from Regence BlueShield of Idaho. District 25 legislators Sen. Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, left, Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding, partially shown, and Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, right, walked a total of 444 miles during the past legislative session to come in third place in the health insurance company's contest. The school will use the money for physical education activities next year. Two other schools, in Dietrich and Wendell, shared the $1,500 award. Express photo by Rebecca Meany

For teachers, parents and other adults watching the development of children, little things can mean a lot.

A $500 check sometimes can mean even more.

Students at Hailey's Silver Creek Alternative School were presented with a check that will ensure physical education activities continue next year.

The money was an award given by Regence BlueShield of Idaho to District 25 legislators, who represent Blaine, Lincoln, Gooding and Camas counties, for their third place showing in a walking competition among lawmakers.

Sen. Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, and Reps. Donna Pence, D-Gooding and Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, walked 887,916 steps—nearly 444 miles—during the Regence-sponsored "Move It" walking challenge, which took place during the last legislative session.

The top three teams each won $1,500.

The company sponsored the second annual event to promote health and wellness among children, said Tim Olson, director of governmental affairs.

"A lot of these kids are sedentary," said Brigitte Christiansen, who taught the physical education class. "And teenagers, they don't eat really healthy. We taught them about healthy meals on a budget. And we started a P.E. class since we don't have a gym."

More than two dozen students utilized the Blaine County Fitness facility in Hailey, a program that the $500 check will help continue next school year.

"It was really neat to see some of these kids get on an exercise bike or treadmill and stay on it for a half hour," Christiansen said. "They're really into it."

School officials noted changes in kids' energy levels and attitudes as other benefits to exercise and proper nutrition.

"Obesity is a serious health issue," John Stellmon, president of Regence BlueShield, said in a news release. "If we can encourage physical fitness among our elected leaders, hopefully they will spread the word to their constituents and more Idahoans will realize how important walking and keeping fit is."

Teacher Jill Bailey said the school is working on a grant request to help fill the student store with more healthful eating options.

If their legislators continue walking, they, or other schools, may receive a check to help achieve those ends.

"We're going to win next year," Jaquet said.

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