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Governor rewards Hickmans healthy students
Hickman Elementary School is named Gold Country Regional winner in the Governor’s Challenge “Fit for the Future.” The school receives a $5,000 check for physical fitness equipment and a $1,000 gift card for school supplies. The school logged in more than 100,000 miles between the students, faculty, staff and the parents. The students receiving the check are Tanner Harvey, Hayes Ramont, Arynn Finneman and Liesel Steeb. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal

Hickman Elementary Fit Statistics

Students             291
Active days         100,000
Physical activity   30-60 minutes a day
Nutrition garden   70 fruits, vegetables

Gold Country Region            14 counties
Schools in California             1,165 schools
California finalists                 92 schools
Gold Country finalists           16 schools

Taking part in Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign “Fit for the Future,” Hickman went above and beyond which won them the Gold Country Regional Award in the 2009 Governor’s Challenge.  
Students at Hickman stayed active for 30 to 60 minutes for at least three days a week for a month, earning them the fitness award. Most of the students continued with their exercise routine beyond the month requirement. Hickman was one of 1,165 schools in California competing in the Governor’s Challenge in 2009. Within their Gold Country region, Hickman competed with over 14 counties.   
“By rising to the Governor’s Challenge and continuing to accept the challenge every month of the year, the students, parents and teachers at Hickman have demonstrated their commitment to fitness in a big way,” said Jake Steinfeld, chairman for the Governor’s Council on physical fitness and sports. “Way to go Warriors!”  
They recorded over 100,000 days of physical activity, said Kenny Rogers, executive director for the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.  Along with physical activity, Hickman created a garden with over 70 fruits, vegetables and legumes for students to try for the program “Put a Rainbow on your Plate.” All 291 students at the school participated in the fitness challenge.  
Throughout the state, there were 92 finalists; and 16 finalists in the Gold Country region, Rogers said. Hickman won due to their determination for physical activity and their focus on nutrition. For this campaign the schools are only required to stay active for four weeks, but Hickman continued with the fitness campaign throughout the year.  
“Getting started with fitness is half of the battle,” Rogers said. “Once you get started it is easier to keep going.”  
Students weren’t the only ones fighting off obesity, parents and faculty members at Hickman were walking toward a healthier living style as well.  
“In the mornings, you could see the families walking together around the school and through campus,” said Rusty Wynn, principal for Hickman Elementary School. “You can’t lose when everyone is involved.”  
Between six students alone, they walked over 100 miles, said Laura Finneman, Hickman Middle School teacher. Those six students received a T-shirt and tennis shoes to reward them for their hard work.  
One student lost over 30 pounds while participating in the Governor’s Challenge, Finneman said. The student plans to continue healthy living and participate in a 3K run coming up soon.   
“This generation will be the first to have a shorter life-span if the fitness and health of this state isn’t changed,” Rogers said.  
“Developing healthy habits now is what will make the difference in the future.  
Bringing about the awareness in elementary schools is a great start,” said Tom Changnon, Stanislaus County superintendent of education.  
“They are fired up,” he said.  
The money given to Hickman will be used toward the building of a track in a vacant lot next to the school, Wynn said.  
“We want to make a walking track so the kids are safe and not walking in front of the school,” he said.
Hickman plans on continuing the Governor’s Challenge and even stepping up their nutrition side of the fitness plan, Wynn said. The school will be planting more things in their garden and exceeding California’s standards in the cafeteria for healthier food for the students, he said.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.