Northridge in running for fitness grant

Northridge High School is in the running for $25,000 to be used to purchase bikes for the physical education department.

Posted on Nov. 19, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

MIDDLEBURY — Northridge High School is one of five schools in the running for $25,000 that the school would use to keep kids fit with biking. The school now needs the public’s help to earn the grant.

Clint Borntrager, head of Northridge’s physical education department, explained that if Northridge wins, the school will use the money to purchase a classroom set of bicycles, helmets and trainers, which turn the bikes into stationary bikes for winter use indoors.

The Henkel Helps Get Kids Fit program is a contest through the Henkel Corp., the company behind such brands as Dial, Purex and Right Guard. The grant application asked how the school would use $25,000 to improve fitness, inspire self-esteem and build teamwork.

The bikes would allow classes to ride along the nearby Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, Borntrager explained. During the winter months students could use them inside as stationary bikes, giving kids a fun way to keep fit.

The high school also has a “PE for life” model, encouraging “things that kids can use outside of school,” which biking fits into, he said.

Northridge’s plan for the bikes can also help students’ self-esteem because it will not be a competitive activity. Borntrager said several geocaches are hidden along the trail that classes can find, meeting the teamwork piece of the grant application. Geocaching is when people use global positioning systems (GPS) and coordinates to find an object hidden by other geocachers.

“We’ve done some geocaching on field trips and the kids get really into it,” Borntrager said.

For Northridge to win the grant, it needs the most votes on the HenkelHelps website by Dec. 7. People can vote daily at www.henkelhelps.com. There is also a video on the website explaining more about Northridge’s plan for the bikes.

The winner will be announced Dec. 11.

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