Friday, March 31, 2000
Wellness Project Lets Students Set Fitness Goals
Christina Campasano got credit for her Senior Wellness Project by taking aerobic kickboxing at Gold's Gym. "Keeping fit and maintaining good health is important," she said, "especially for teenagers." The Wellness Project, a unique program started three years ago at Concord-Carlisle High School, gives students credit for setting and achieving their fitness goals. The project gives seniors the opportunity to design their own personal fitness plan, in lieu of traditional gym classes.
"It's one more step to adulthood," said Senior Wellness Project Coordinator Nancy Slocum "It prepares students to take responsibility for themselves without someone looking over their shoulder and it allows students to discover what activities they like to do." Some recent projects include racquetball, yoga, dance, weight lifting, biking, crewing, cross country skiing and running. Students can also include their participation in a varsity sport as the subject of their wellness project.
The project, designed and implemented by CCHS health and fitness instructor Dick Kerr, asks students to complete a wellness contract explaining the focus of their fitness project. A parent is asked to co-sign the contract. Students must complete at least 50 hours of physical activity and keep a journal detailing their daily or weekly progress toward their fitness goals. Journal entries include an exercise log that is initialed by parents, course instructors or coaches. Students are also asked to read and critique four research articles of their choice on their fitness activity or on other health-related topics.
The project focuses on improvements in at least one of these fitness areas: cardiovascular, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility or body composition. Beyond exercise improvements, students are encouraged to set personal goals such as stress management, better nutrition or time spent exercising with a friend or parent.
What Tunika Claiborne liked most about her fitness project is the time she spent walking with her mother. "I knew my mom wanted to get into walking and I wanted to motivate her," she said. Tunika and her mother went on daily walking routines in their neighborhood in Boston for the project, one hour during the week and up to two hours on weekends. She said that, along with enjoying her walks with her mother, her journal entries demonstrate she increased her own heart rate through the exercise program she created.
Christina Campasano believes college will be more difficult with a greater focus on academics. She feels it's important to stay fit by going to a gym. Kickboxing, a recent fitness trend, has the class doing kicking, jabbing, and punching movements to a fast-paced beat. Even though her wellness project is complete, Campasano continues with the classes several times a week. She said it helped her achieve her fitness goals by toning muscles and helping her to get slimmer.
Kristyn Traversi designed her fitness program around walking, weight training and yoga. "What I enjoy is you can do your own thing, not during school time," she said of the project. Traversi, who has chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, said the activities helped to suppress her symptoms. Some days she walks a half hour to an hour on a treadmill, some days she works with weight sets on a home gym or practices relaxation, yoga or stretching exercises. Traversi also continues her exercise program every day even though her project has ended.
The Wellness Project is usually completed by the end of the second quarter in senior year and carries one credit. Students receive either a passing grade for satisfactory completion of the project, or an A for exceptional work. If a student chooses not to participate, they can choose to attend regular fitness classes in their senior year.
At the end of the project students turn in their journal and a self-evaluation of their project. Students are asked to consider, "What physical activity do you see contributing to your life-long pursuit of wellness?" Department Chair Andrea Gillis said of the independent projects, "It gives students credit for the good decisions they're already making."
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito