3 Alaska schools to receive fitness centers

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Gov. Mike Dunleavy and fitness celebrity Jake Steinfeld announced Thursday morning that Mears Middle School, Romig Middle School, and Knik Charter School will each receive a $100,000 fitness center because of their commitment to creating healthy futures for students.

“I’m proud to see our schools recognized for their commitment to fostering a healthy and active lifestyle,” Dunleavy said in a press release.

The National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils works to give students the means to stay happy and healthy. The contest is called DON’T QUIT.

“Academics and fitness go hand in hand,” Steinfeld said. “This is not just about building bodies, but building confidence and self-esteem, and that’s really the name of the game. Because when you have confidence and self-esteem, you can achieve anything you want in life.”

Each fitness center is privately funded through sponsorships with companies such as Coca-Cola and Nike.

When the contest application came out in February, 36 Alaskan elementary and middle schools applied, according to Steinfeld. The contest asked schools to make a video telling the council why they deserve the fitness centers to a panel that picks the three winners.

While Steinfeld does not vote on who wins, he does get to deliver the news to the schools.

Reactions from 2024 recipients can be viewed on the council’s YouTube page.

Steinfeld, who is the chairman of the fitness council, said his goal with the program was to get centers in all 50 states. This goal will be completed when centers open in Nevada, New York, Hawaii, and Alaska this fall.

After the newest centers are open, Steinfeld wants to return to existing centers across the country and see how they are impacting the community.

“All I ask and we ask, as a foundation, of the school is if you can keep the fitness center open before and after school as well as on weekends,” Steinfeld said. “So not just the students and the teachers, but the moms and dads and aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandpas can exercise too.”

Steinfeld and Dunleavy both plan to be at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the centers in October.