Elvin Hill recognized for commitment to wellness

By Phoebe Donald Robinson/ For the Reporter

COLUMBIANA – The entire student body, faculty and staff filled the Elvin Hill Elementary School gymnasium on May 14 when the school was presented with two awards for its efforts to combat childhood obesity and to inspire wellness.

“I am dedicated to get in the best shape I can,” Principal Betsy Hillman said during her opening remarks. “And I want that for all of you. People who feel good, smile more and learn better.”

Joe Daly representing the American Heart Association, which has reviewed more than 200 schools in Alabama, awarded the ”Fit Friendly Gold Achievement School” plaque to EHES. The school was one of five in the state to receive the award, including Chelsea Intermediate and Mt. Laurel Elementary.

Nicole Barnes, Alabama Coordinator of the Institute for America’s Health, also recognized EHES as a “Wellness, Academics and You” model school. Barnes presented the schools with a WAY banner.

“The WAY program is for all students because healthy students learn better, perform better and feel better,” said Natalie Steed of IAH. “Simply put, healthy kids do better in school.”

Hillman and the entire EHES staff attended a WAY workshop on April 11.

Alabama is currently ranked fourth in the U.S. in childhood obesity.

IAH provides videos for teachers to use to help students exercise at breaks. Teachers are taught how to incorporate lessons on nutrition, goal setting and stress management into school curriculums. Students are taught to journal activities, food choices and to reflect on those choices. Parents are encouraged to encourage their children to live a healthy lifestyle through resources available to them free through IAH.

EHES has been proactive about student and faculty wellness for years. Coaches Ashley Phillips and Chad Baker and teachers Sharon Rogers and Monica Bates are on EHES’ wellness team. The school also hosted a Wellness Week, which include health and wellness speakers and a Field Day competition.