Landrum school chosen as site for Project Fit America

Published 5:59 pm Wednesday, October 15, 2008

O.P. Earle P.E. teacher Laura Dickson said she first found out about the program through a news article earlier this year. She immediately began to check into it.

&dquo;I was obviously all over it,&dquo; she said.

It was already determined that the Mary Black Foundation was going to be funding it, Dickson said; it was just a matter of applying for the program.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

She completed the application and phone interview and the elementary school was chosen.

At the start of the ceremony on Friday, the elementary students were entertained by a number of guests, including the mascots of Landrum High School, Chapman High School and Wofford College.

After the sound of the &dquo;Rocky&dquo; theme music faded and the kids settled down, they heard from Dr. Kenneth Cooper, also known as the &dquo;father of aerobics.&dquo; He wrote a book called &dquo;Aerobics&dquo; in 1968, introducing the world to the new form of exercise. Cooper agreed to speak at the ceremony after he was contacted by Dickson&39;s teaching assistant, Julien Roper, through his brother-in-law.

Now 77, Cooper still exercises on a daily basis.

&dquo;Fitness is a journey,&dquo; he told the students. &dquo;You must keep it up for the rest of your life.&dquo;

He also stressed how important it was for the kids at O.P. Earle to succeed.

&dquo;The way you perform is going to be compared to kids around the world,&dquo; he said.

After Cooper was finished, the kids got up and stretched a little and then heard a motivational speech from Steve Cox, one of the Project Fit trainers.

After all the speakers were through, some of the kids moved over to the playground provided by the Mary Black Foundation and Project Fit America to showcase the new equipment.

&dquo;We want them to become and remain fit for a lifetime,&dquo; O.P. Earle principal Nita High said.