By Gabriella Karina     12/18/2018

St. Justin Martyr School has earned a $10,000 award from America on Track (AOT) Physical Education Programs. After collecting three years of data, St. Justin Martyr School received the award for achieving AOT’s top challenge for the lowest loss-ratio and highest “on-time” return rate in earning points toward a $10,000 award. “[AOT] teaches me to live healthy,” said a student. “It is fun,” and “the teacher is the best in the world.”  

AOT’s fitness and nutrition philosophy is based on the expectation that the promotion of positive physical education skills, knowledge and goals in youth will help them develop a lifelong commitment to their own physical well-being, health and fitness. Daily physical activity levels were measured by using pedometers distributed to the students.  Each student received a specific, numbered pedometer that they had to keep track of and return. Students in kindergarten to fourth grade wear pedometers for four consecutive days. Students in fifth to eighth grade wear pedometers every day of the week.  

A wide variety of physical activities took place twice a week that met state standards, using strategies to address critical gaps and enhanced health and fitness services. Multiple opportunities and settings promoted physical activity and healthy eating. For example, students learn ways to test healthy foods that are new to them and how to balance their meals. Parents have the opportunity to take nutrition classes. St. Justin Martyr students also have materials to create a food garden. This garden is also tied to the student’s service learning experience. Last school year America on Track financed the cost of an 8th-grade service learning project as students revived a neglected stone marker dedicated to the unborn.  Students moved the stone where it could be readily seen and built a small garden around it.    

As a part of AOT’s Viva la Salud health and wellness program, students will take a field trip to Northgate Market. They will learn how food is received, processed and presented to customers. The ultimate goal is to create lifelong, healthier habits.