Larry Doyle and Stacy Kanaga Profitt want to make sure their students at Central School grow up to be healthy and active for life. And they know they have to walk the talk.
So now the two physical education teachers walk half-marathons to inspire their students to raise money for the American Heart Association.
“We want our kids to be healthy,” Doyle said.
It all began about five years ago when the two Brecksville-Broadview Heights teachers decided to give their students an incentive to raise money for the Heart Association’s “Hoops for Heart” event: for every $1,000 the students raised in the basketball-themed fundraiser, the teachers vowed to walk a mile to school.
The students raised so much money that the teachers capped the walk at 13 miles, and turned it into a day spent walking around Brecksville and Broadview Heights.
The walk has become an annual tradition. Profitt and Doyle begin their day at 9 a.m. at Central, and pass by the other five schools in the Brecksville-Broadview Heights district and the Board of Education building. The day ends around 2 p.m. with “Rally on the Lawn,” an assembly focused on fitness for the students.
Anyone in the community can join the teachers to walk all or part of the half-marathon. City officials, friends, family members, members of the district’s wellness committee and even representatives from the American Heart Association have joined Doyle and Profitt on the trek.
The walk is one way the school community teaches a healthy lifestyle by setting an example, Principal Christopher Hartland said. That example includes fitness as well as charitable works, he said, calling the proceeds the students have raised “phenomenal.” This year’s fundraiser has brought in more than $8,000, Doyle said in an email.
Doyle and Profitt even created a mission statement that vows to “teach, train, motivate and inspire” their students. The walk serves to motivate and inspire, Doyle said.
The teachers also work with the 4th- and 5th-graders at Central to set personal fitness goals at the beginning of the year, and work with them all year long to help them improve at tasks like running and push-ups.
It’s important for teachers to give students the skills they need to succeed at a variety of sports and games, Doyle said, because success encourages further efforts.
“Then they’re going to want to do it more,” he said.
And that’s their overall goal—to get students engaged and active for the long term.
If you’d like to take part in this year’s walk on May 18, call Central School at 440-740-4100 for more information.