MICHIGAN CITY — Educators at Michigan City's Martin T. Krueger Middle School cut the ribbon recently on a new $100,000 fitness center sponsored by the National Foundation of Governors' Fitness Councils.
Krueger is one of three Indiana middle schools selected earlier this year as a DON'T QUIT! Fitness Champion, earning the school a fitness center furnished by NFGFC partner TuffStuff Fitness.
The National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils, chaired by fitness expert Jake Steinfeld, has delivered a dozen of its DON'T QUIT! Fitness Centers to schools in four states every year since 2012.
Typically, the fitness center ribbon cuttings are celebrated with full fanfare, including a schoolwide pep rally with Steinfeld and governors in attendance.
Gov. Holcomb teamed up with fitness entrepreneur Jake Steinfeld to bring the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils' “DON’T QUIT!” campaign to Indiana.
However, this year, the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils took its ribbon cuttings into the virtual sphere, celebrating with a video compilation of Indiana recipients.
Winning schools applied for the program in a video application detailing their commitment to promoting student wellness.
So far, the national foundation has awarded 107 fitness centers to schools in 36 states.
Perry Meridian Middle School in Indianapolis and Southside Middle School in Muncie were named along with Krueger as winners in Indiana.
"Thanks for bringing this to the state of Indiana to help students here, Hoosiers here focus on fitness and health and their wellness," Gov. Eric Holcomb said in the recent video ribbon cutting. "Obviously it’s important every year, but it could not be more important right now."
Michigan City staff appeared alongside representatives from the two other Indiana middle schools and sponsors from funding partners, Coca-Cola, Anthem Foundation, Nike and Wheels Up.
Speakers shared their own experiences with youth fitness and encouraged students today to pursue "an upward spiral of success" through healthy workout habits.
"This isn't a Democrat or Republican issue, this is a kids issue," Steinfeld said. "This is a kids issue. We as adults need to leave this great country of ours better than we found it and that's why now we are all a part of this great DON'T QUIT! family."
Michigan City schools reopened virtually for the start of its school year. With a minimal community spread designation from the state, school leaders are now preparing for an in-person return.
Krueger students, who have been learning remotely for the start of the 2020-21 school year, are likely to get their first peek at the new fitness equipment when Michigan City Area Schools transition to in-person learning next week.
About 70% of the district's students have opted to return in person, while others will be allowed to continue remote learning.
"I'm not a big emotional guy, but man, that really, for our kids, it's big," physical education teacher Ryan Labis said at the Krueger ribbon cutting. "What this will do for our kids and our community is beyond words."