Originally published Sept. 30, 2019 by WJLA.

By Kellye Lynn

Passing a bean bag while holding a plank. The physical education class is just one way Montpelier Elementary is making fitness a priority.

“I think it’s very important for the schools to promote a healthy lifestyle,” said Physical Education Teacher Steve Mitsak.

Mitsak isn’t the only one who thinks so. Students are on board too. They’re participating in yoga and flag football before the school day even begins.

“Before school, you get to work out and stretch your body out,” said 10-year-old Kareem Oyekan.

“It makes me feel more awake and maybe not slouch when I’m in my classes,” said fifth-grader Laila Ogletree.

“We have a fitness club that meets every morning before school. We do JAM every morning on the announcements it stands for Just a Minute. We have kids come up and do exercises for the whole school they lead it and on Fridays we do dancing,” Mitsak said.

What students and teachers are doing at Montpelier is getting notice. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation has named it one of “America’s Healthiest Schools!”

“We have a whole bunch of options like we have different salads and we have lots of fruits and more different types of salads and just vegetables themselves,” said Ogletree.

Another impactful change? Putting lunch after recess. The shift has led to students eating more of their food and making healthier choices.

“I used to not like salad but this school actually made me love salad now,” said Ogletree.

Montpelier is the only school in Prince George’s County to be recognized with the award.

In Montgomery County, five schools were named “America’s Healthiest Schools!” including Arcola Elementary School, Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School, Harmony Hills Elementary School, Julius West Middle School, and Redland Middle School.

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    Prince George County school listed among America's Healthiest Schools thanks to focus on physical education, improved nutrition.
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