MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Who are the fittest students in the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District? The honor will be decided by a competition that is under way on the district’s campuses in East Brunswick, Piscataway, Perth Amboy and Woodbridge.
About 400 students are involved in the Joetta Clark Diggs Fitness Challenge, which is being sponsored by Horizon NJ Health, the Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation and Empower Somerset, as part of that agency’s Coordinated School Health Grant.
“This is my foundation’s fourth year of conducting the Joetta Clark Diggs Fitness Challenge, and we are excited Horizon NJ Health is once again taking the lead on sponsoring this program to schools in Middlesex County, said Clark Diggs, a four-time Olympian and a member of the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame.
“I know the importance of having a fit body and mind, and this program will focus on those areas,” she added. “It’s always exciting to see the youth getting involved fitness and academic achievement.”
“This is an exciting opportunity, and we are proud to be a part of a program that challenges young people to become more active and involved,” said Karen L. Clark, president of Horizon NJ Health. “They have an excellent role model in Mrs. Clark Diggs and will be involved in activities and competitions that can motivate, involve, teach and, hopefully, inspire them to see that their lives can be improved with a healthier lifestyle.”
The students will compete in push-ups/sit-ups, standing broad jump and rope-jumping, as well as a “mental challenge” during March. In preparation, they are receiving instruction from trainers from the Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation, who will conduct three training sessions at each school.
A recent gym class at the Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge was presided over by trainers Crystal Boyd, Olivia Roman and Reggie Lampley, as school nurse Barbara Meene and physical education teacher Rocco Funari looked on.
“The kids are all so excited,” Meene said. “All of our kids are very competitive, academically and across the board.”
Reviewing a previous lesson, Lampley asked, “Food eaten minus what equals weight gain?” “Exercise,” the class responded.
As they warmed up to music with stretches and calisthenics, Lampley asked, “Are you guys the fittest high school?” “Yes,” the students shouted.