The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Breaking News

Latest News

September 20, 2013

Stratton Elementary opens fitness center

— Dance music blasted through the loudspeakers at Stratton Elementary School Thursday morning as students, teachers, administrators, parents and others crowded into the gymnasium to celebrate the Live Positively Fitness Center and to welcome two special guests.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and celebrity fitness trainer and author Jake Steinfeld of “Body by Jake” walked on-stage to the energetic beat of hits like “Party Rockers.”

“I love the energy here,” said Steinfeld. “It’s great.”

Tomblin officially declared September “Live Positively Fitness Month” in West Virginia at the assembly.

Steinfeld, CEO and president of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, visited the school for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new fitness center, which was funded through a $100,000 grant from Coca-Cola through the Governors’ Fitness Council.

Steinfeld said he is declaring war on childhood obesity — an epidemic that has led to increased risks of childhood diabetes and other illnesses, according to medical studies.

Exercise not only builds confidence, but also self-esteem, said Steinfeld.

“When you’re feeling good about yourself, it’s amazing what you can accomplish,” he said. “You have so much energy.

“You can do whatever you want to do for that day, that week, that month of your life.

“I want you to know that all people sitting here really care about you all ... moms, dads, teachers, administrators, the great governor, really care about you,” Steinfeld told the students.

Steinfeld urged students to exercise and eat right.

“When you exercise, you’re in control of who you are,” he said. “We all have dreams and aspirations.

“We need to make sure you’re healthy and strong. The only way to do that is by eating right and exercising.”

According to Steinfeld, he knew West Virginia students “needed help” due to the high obesity rate in the state. He called Tomblin, and Tomblin was on the phone “in 3 minutes.”

“When he got on the phone, I felt like we’d gone to high school together,” said Steinfeld, in his trademark Coney Island, Brooklyn, dialect.

“You could hardly tell us apart,” quipped Tomblin, who is from Logan County.

“We talk alike,” Steinfeld joked.

Steinfeld praised Tomblin’s dedication to the state, saying that while all governors have been “great” when he’s been to their states, Tomblin wanted to visit each of the three state schools where Steinfeld opened the gyms.

“You don’t get too many calls from people saying they’d like to give you something,” said  Tomblin. “I felt at first, I’d put on a few pounds, so that’s why he called.”

When Tomblin addressed students, he said he wasn’t proud when he saw West Virginia ranking 49th and 50th nationally in health categories like diabetes, heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure.

“We’ve got to get on the right path now,” Tomblin told the elementary-age students. The governor praised Raleigh Superintendent of Schools Jim Brown and Stratton Principal Mary McClung for the ways they’ve integrated nutritional and exercise upgrades into the school.

Tomblin also told the kids, ‘Here’s Body by Jake; here’s body by Earl Ray.

“You want a body like Jake’s.”

He urged students, parents, teachers and administrators to use the equipment.

Brown said McClung sent an e-mail the night before deadline last school year and asked if she could apply for the grant.

She and Stratton physical education teacher Ashley Moore had just learned of the $100,000 grant and thought Stratton would be a great fit.

Stratton parent Star Carter, 34, of Beckley, said her children Coriauna, 11, and Kyleigh, 8, have been excited about the new fitness equipment.

Coriauna was one of 16 students to perform a dance called “Let’s Get Fit” during the assembly.

“The school really deserves it,” Carter said. “The school is so caring toward the kids.

“When we come in, they know all my kids’ names.

“They really embrace them,” Carter added. “And it’s really important for the school to learn about fitness.

“It’s going to get the whole family motivated.”

Barbara Mizell’s daughter Jayla Cox, 6, is also excited, said Mizell.

She added that the teachers are caring towards the kids.

“They’re also caring of the parents,” she added.

Mizell’s granddaughter, 9-year-old Laila Cox, said she’s looking forward to using the gym equipment.

Mentors from Memorial Baptist Church — a local church that partners with Stratton to place kids with adult mentors during the school day — also attended the event.

While parents were invited back Oct. 7 to tour the gym, the 16 dancers used the equipment after the ceremony.

“It looks cool and it looks fun,” said Talijah Walton, 10, of the equipment.

“It think it sounds exciting,” added Maggie Weis, 10.

Board of Education member Cynthia Jafary pointed out that the American Medical Association just declared obesity as a disease.

“So we’re addressing not only obesity as a health care crisis, but (the gym) is giving them a way to improve their overall fitness,” she said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our kids.”

Board member Larry Ford said BOE members are as “excited as the kids are that Stratton Elementary is the recipient of this great, wonderful gift.”

“It makes us proud,” added Board of Education member Sally Susman.

— E-mail:

Text Only
Latest News
  • twv twins One Hatfield, two actors

    If you shake hands with the cast and crew at Theatre West Virginia after the show, don’t worry if you think you’re seeing double.
    Jacob and James Cline, 12-year-old twins, are a part of the team this year, assisting  with props and portraying Little Troy Hatfield.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Construction begins on Meadow River Rail Trail

    Construction has finally begun on the Meadow River Rail Trail, a recreation project undertaken in a unique partnership between Greenbrier and Fayette counties.

    July 25, 2014

  • AARP reps talk future of Social Security

    The future of Social Security was on the menu at a listening session staged Thursday by AARP West Virginia at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

    July 25, 2014

  • Juvenile petitions sought against teens in Mount Hope B&Es

    The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department is filing juvenile petitions against two Page-area teens after two businesses in the Mount Hope area were broken into early Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • US issues 186 mining citations in June

    The Mine Safety and Health Administration says inspectors issued 186 citations at 13 U.S. mining operations in June.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lawsuit filed after Dirty Girl Run canceled

    A lawsuit has been filed against the producers of a run that was canceled in Charleston in which participants were told they wouldn't be issued refunds.

    July 24, 2014

  • Juveniles caught after breaking and entering in Fayette

    The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department is filing juvenile petitions against two teens from the Page area after two businesses in the Mount Hope area were broken into.

    July 24, 2014

  • Saints arrive 1 Saints march into ‘Almost Heaven, W.Va.’

    At 3:54 p.m. Wednesday afternoon the New Orleans Saints’ chartered flight touched the ground at the Greenbrier Valley Airport, and Greenbrier County officially became “Who Dat?” Country. INCLUDES TOUT VIDEO.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Broadband panel eyes access to rural areas

    The West Virginia Broadband Deployment Council met far outside its typical Charleston venue Wednesday to hear issues about Internet speeds in some of the state’s most rural regions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lewisburg official says fuel spill contained, drinking water safe

    Lewisburg’s public works director is confident that a Tuesday afternoon fuel spill 60 miles upriver from the city water system’s intake has been contained and the water is safe to drink.

    July 24, 2014