, Muskogee, OK

July 27, 2013

Hilldale school gets a $75K fitness grant

City of Muskogee Foundation awards middle school money for phys ed

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Hilldale Middle School students soon can Fight the Good Fight on Fat, just like the elementary students.

The City of Muskogee Foundation has awarded the middle school a $75,000 grant for new physical education equipment and program. Hilldale Board of Education agreed to accept the grant at its recent regular meeting.

This is the third such grant Hilldale received from the Foundation. Hilldale Elementary received $45,000 in 2010 and $26,000 in 2011 from the Foundation. The school used the grant for new PE equipment such as medicine balls and stepping platforms.

The middle school’s grant also will pay for PE equipment, including a climbing wall, new dodge ball games, and a multimedia video exercise/dance program, said Hilldale Public Schools Technology Director Eric Wells, who wrote the grant application.

He said the equipment will be age-appropriate for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.

The program’s aim will be the same as that for the elementary school.

“Before the grant is in effect, we will record the kids BMI (body mass index) and ability to do sit-ups, reaches and push-ups,” Wells said. “After three months, six months, the end of the year, we’ll do the same tests again to see the affect of the equipment.

Unlike the elementary grant, the middle school’s grant will not affect every student, Wells said. Students taking physical education classes will be involved in the program. Hilldale Middle School Principal Darren Riddle said about 150 to 175 of Hilldale Middle School’s 400 students take PE. Athletes will take advantage of the program during off-season of their sports.

“There is a huge push of students being active,” said Hilldale Superintendent Dr. Kaylin Coody.

City of Muskogee Foundation grants manager D.J. Thompson said the grant focuses on an age group that “is kind of overlooked.”

“High schools have athletics, and elementary schools have recess,” she said.

Hilldale Elementary Principal Kair Ridenhour said his school’s Fight the Good Fight of Fat program has prompted kids to be more active.

“And the more active they are in PE, the calmer and more focused they are in the classroom,” Ridenhour said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or