If you were to walk into the Breckenridge Elementary gymnasium in the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 1, you would have heard the students cheer and stomp their feet to the beat of the band playing in excitement for the grand opening of the fitness center.
This fitness center will provide space for students to build their health. It also provides an area for students to utilize during the rainy days and winter months when outside play and exercise become difficult.
Elementary Principal Corinna Erickson welcomed the students and community to the opening of the new fitness center.
“This center will help our students see and feel all the benefits of a healthy and fit lifestyle. This opportunity will provide lifelong skills that our students can take with them wherever they go,” said Erickson.
Famed fitness icon and Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, Jake Steinfield, was welcomed to the podium, “Cowboys and Cowgirls, how are you doing this morning?” he cheered.
“I remember being back in elementary school,” Steinfeld said. “I was a really overweight kid and I had a really bad stutter growing up. One day, my dad bought me a set of weights and it changed my life. Because not only did the weights build my body, but it built my confidence and my self-esteem.”
Steinfeld credits building the strength of your body to building the strength in your confidence, self-esteem and health. For him, being in better shape will allow you to attend school and be more focused on learning.
“When you have your health and when you have hope, you have everything,” he said.
The elementary school was awarded this $100,000 center after they made a video explaining why this center was important for the students and community. This video was made by several students, Erickson and Miriam Tobola, director of innovation of learning and several students (https://youtu.be/YBYy88OH302E/).
“The video that was put together was simple and elegant. Because it told us about this school and this community. We heard about the snow days, we heard about the fact that six to seven months of the school year you guys are inside,” said Steinfeld. “What I loved the most about it was that you guys were being creative, that you cared, and that there are parents who care, teachers who care, this community cares about each other.”
After Steinfeld and his team saw the video, he shared, “We said, ‘that Breckenridge Elementary, they have great parents, they have great teachers, a great community, great students. They care, they love and understand that academics and fitness go hand and hand,’” Steinfeld said, “We know we chose the right school.”
A group of students were chosen and trained with the equipment. These students were able to show off their knowledge of equipment after the ribbon cutting. Utilization of the fitness center will begin with the students and eventually extend to the staff to see how that goes before they entertain the idea of opening to the public. They are in no hurry to do so as the Breckenridge-Wahpeton area has many fitness centers spread throughout the community.
This donation began with a phone call by Steinfeld to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz. It was announced in May that Breckenridge Elementary School along with two other Minnesota schools had won a $100,000 fitness center through the DON’T QUIT! campaign. In addition to Breckenridge, Greenway Public School in Coleraine, Minnesota, and E-STEM Middle School in Woodbury, Minnesota, also won.
Steinfeld and his team have been to 31 states and have donated DON’T QUIT! fitness centers to 149 schools.