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'First Down scores Spout Springs physical education teacher $1,000
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Spout Springs School of Enrichment will use a $1,000 grant from the Atlanta Falcons First Down for Life program to install two or three basketball goals on the asphalt drive, above, and a volleyball court in the center divider, said physical education teacher Tom Adam. Two girls look on from the school’s athletic field during second-grade field day. - photo by NAT GURLEY

There’s a lot Tom Adam wants to do with $1,000.

“We’re trying to take our blacktop area and put basketball goals around it,” said the Spout Springs School of Enrichment physical education teacher. “Maybe beach volleyball. Basically, we’re trying to spruce that up and give our kids an additional place to be active.”

Adam was one of five teachers selected out of a pool of 250 across the state for this year’s Atlanta Falcons’ First Down for Fitness grant.

The teachers were selected for “their commitment and dedication to finding unique ways to ensure their students engage in physical activity for 60 minutes, five days a week and maintain healthy eating habits,” according to a news release.

Adam is taking the $1,000 grant and adding an extra $250 the school was awarded for its representation at the Five Points of Life Kids Marathon in April. He said he hopes adding more activities like basketball and volleyball to the outside area will encourage students to be fit.

Fitness, nutrition and overall health play important roles at the school.

“Everybody’s on board,” Adam said. “There’s everything from running clubs after school to staff wellness. We’ve had murals painted in the lunchroom.

“There’s stuff going on all the time,” he added. “It’s really great.”

Spout Springs is regularly recognized for its healthy initiatives. It was the only Georgia elementary school to receive a silver award in 2013 by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The school has also been on Gov. Nathan Deal’s SHAPE Honor Roll, an initiative introduced to challenge schools to make improvements in nutrition, physical activity and wellness.

To accomplish this, Adam and the other teachers have put several things into play. When it rains outside, students can play fitness games with a Nintendo Wii game console. They also get unusual homework assignments at night — if they’re watching TV, they’re asked to do some sort of activity during commercial breaks.

“They are a model for school success in regards of collaborative work in the wellness area,” said Hall County Schools Wellness Coordinator Jacob Weiers. “The most impressive thing I’ve found with them is the collaborative work among the staff there.

“It’s really a team effort. It’s not just one individual. It’s the whole group working in unison.”

Once the recess area is tackled using the grant and award money, there’s one more space Adam would like to see fixed up.

“There’s an old field behind the school that used to be used for septic lines,” he said. “I want to see that turned into a field that kids can use. What we thought was maybe (placing) a track and some fitness equipment around it.”

First Down for Fitness is a three-month program encouraging students in participating schools to remain active, especially during football season. Along with eating healthy foods and getting plenty of rest, students are encouraged to be active for 60 minutes daily.

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