Originally published Feb. 14, 2019 by NBC 10 News.

By Barbara Morse Silva

“Work out Wednesdays” engage middle school students.

It all started back in 2013 at North Smithfield middle school—where, one day a week, the physical education teachers set up a sort of obstacle course for students.

“It’s been really good for the kids to experience different ways of working out so it’s not just sport-based,” said Mark Labossiere, physical education and health teacher at the middle school.

The gym is converted into a rock climbing, tire-flipping, army crawling obstacle course. The set up is intense, said Labossiere, who says he and fellow physical education teacher, Jeff Crins, begin setting up the night before. Some of the equipment belongs to Crins.

“I like squats,” said Jaclyn Vincent, a seventh grade student.

“For me, push-ups.” Said Grace Lane, another student. “They’re really hard but this gives me a chance to work on them.”

Work out Wednesdays is something we feel like all the kids need,” said Crins. “We’re competing against video games. They go home and play video games for hours, so our goal in phys ed is to have them move as much as possible. It’s getting them moving, have fun, try something different.”

And the students love it.

“It’s just the variety of things that we can do,” said Nicholas Carufel, another student.

And they all have their favorites!

“The army crawling,” said Courtney Thatcher. “Because it makes me feel better about myself.”

“Probably running stairs, cos I like to run,” said Jamison Jacques. “I like how you could have fun while increasing your physical fitness.”

“I like all the different things we can do and also how we can work at our own pace,” added Jillian Kraus.

“Here it’s all about what they can do and gettin better,” said Labossiere.

“Every week it changes. We do different formats each week,” said Crins.

An added bonus: Each student wears a heart rate monitor, so they can track how they’re doing. Bottom line is this:

“Not every kid is great at sports so this is a really good break from any traditional phys ed class,” said Crins.

Similar classes for the parents are planned at the school.

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