Local, Mauldin, Politics, Schools

Governor McMaster visits Mauldin Middle to open new fitness center

Famed Fitness Icon Jake (Body by Jake) Steinfeld helped cut the ribbon on the $100K DON’T QUIT!™ FITNESS CENTER

Governor Henry McMaster and Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, traveled to Mauldin Middle School to help dedicate the new DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center. The multi-million dollar physical fitness campaign has named Mauldin Middle School in Simpsonville, Sanders Middle School in Columbia and Green Sea Floyds Middle School in Green Sea as the state’s most outstanding schools for demonstrating leadership in getting and keeping their students fit.

“This is a very exciting time for South Carolina and the three schools in our great state for being awarded a DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center for their efforts in demonstrating a passion for health,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “I thank Jake Steinfeld and the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils for bringing their campaign to South Carolina and for helping our students understand the importance of physical fitness.”

The National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils program will make its way into all 50 states in the coming years. Each fitness center is financed through public/private partnerships with companies like The Coca-Cola Company, Amerigroup Foundation, Wheels Up and Nike, and does not rely on taxpayer dollars or state funding. TuffStuff Fitness International provides all of the fitness equipment, which is manufactured right here in the United States. The Foundation’s goal is to build a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world.

Jeffrey “Jake” Steinfeld (born February 21, 1958) is an American actor, fitness specialist and fitness trainer. Steinfeld develops businesses through the “Body by Jake” brand and founded Major League Lacrosse (MLL). “Obesity is America’s arch enemy. I knew it would take an army of leaders to fight this disease head on. I was thrilled when Governor McMaster joined our efforts to help raise awareness of childhood obesity and to help put a stop to it in South Carolina,” said Jake Steinfeld. “The National Foundation is really excited to award Mauldin Middle, Sanders Middle and Green Sea Floyds Middle with new fitness centers that will have a lasting impact on kids and their community now, and well into their futures!”

Schools from across the state of South Carolina were asked to submit applications to be considered for this grant. Mauldin Middle School Health and Physical Education Teacher Celene Tepedino went to work on a presentation along with Kim Wiley to be considered for this grant. Ms. Tepedino commented, “When I came to Mauldin Middle School in 2007 I noticed that we had rather large classes.  There were 3 classes in the gymnasium at a time.  When the weather was bad, we had no choice but to combine the classes and play games with over 100 kids at a time on the surface area a little over the size of one basketball court.  At that time, I noticed that there was a large storage room right off the gymnasium.  I set out on a course to secure that room for a “fitness room” to be used in such circumstances as described.”

“With the cost of equipment and flooring this task became insurmountable.  It would be years of a few pieces of equipment here and there from donations and yard sales.  Some things were purchased through annual school funds and small grants.  In any case, we were slow moving at best.” continued Tepedino.

Ms. Tepedino confirmed, “This past spring, we received an email from our District representative describing the Don’t Quit Campaign.  We immediately jumped on this opportunity.  I asked our Technology Clerk if she would assist us with creating a video showing our room and conveying our passion for fitness to the Don’t Quit Campaign.  Kim Wylie created a beautiful presentation showing that all we needed was the equipment.  Our room and our dedicated fitness faculty were in place and we only needed the equipment.  I am eternally grateful for Jake Steinfeld and his staff for what they have done for Mauldin Middle School.  The students have already been using the room and the smiles on their faces are priceless.  I am grateful that Jake brought his dream to Mauldin Middle School to partner with 12 years of effort to fulfill our dream.”

The state-of-the-art DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center was unveiled during ribbon cutting ceremonies on October 2, 2018. But before the ribbon was cut, the Governor and Jake Steinfeld entered the gymnasium to a roaring crowd and the Mauldin middle school Wind Ensemble playing the theme from “Rocky”. The band is under the direction of Jim Kilgus and Julie Poston.
After the fitness center was officially opened students, faculty, and dignitaries took turns breaking in the new equipment.

For more information about the National Foundation, visit www.natgovfit.org.

About the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils:
The National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils (NFGFC) seeks to encourage and reward innovation in the field of youth fitness by awarding fitness centers to schools that use new and unique methods to promote student physical activity and wellness. The NFGFC envisions a fitness center in every school in the U.S., helping to build a nation that—through innovation and a “DON’T QUIT!” attitude—boasts the fittest kids in the world. Since 2012, the NFGFC has delivered fitness centers in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Georgia, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, California, New Mexico, Connecticut, Virginia, Illinois, Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Washington, Wisconsin, Arizona, Maryland, Louisiana, Oregon and Colorado. In 2018, we will gift fitness centers to four more states including Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.♦

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