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updated: 12/12/2017 12:24 PM

D303 physical education teachers inspire kids to be healthy

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  • Third-grader Maddie Sempsrott works out during a Fuel Up to Play 60 fitness program at Richmond Intermediate School in St. Charles.

    Third-grader Maddie Sempsrott works out during a Fuel Up to Play 60 fitness program at Richmond Intermediate School in St. Charles.
    COURTESY OF GUS SILVA

  • Students participate in a Fuel Up to Play 60 fitness and leadership program at Richmond Intermediate School in St. Charles. Gus Silva, a dean at the school, started it there about seven years ago.

    Students participate in a Fuel Up to Play 60 fitness and leadership program at Richmond Intermediate School in St. Charles. Gus Silva, a dean at the school, started it there about seven years ago.
    COURTESY OF GUS SILVA

 
 

Physical education teachers Gus Silva and Russell Williams didn't waste much time getting students at Richmond Elementary School in St. Charles more interested in healthy lifestyles.

When the National Dairy Council and National Football League launched a Fuel Up to Play 60 in-school health and wellness program about seven years ago, Silva and Williams jumped all over it.

The result is four of the district's elementary and middle schools are involved in the program: Davis Primary, Richmond Intermediate, and Wredling and Thompson middle schools.

Silva, as a dean at what is now Richmond Intermediate School, is pleased to see every third-, fourth- and fifth-grader in the school involved in some fashion.

The program, which stresses physical activity, nutritional eating and serving the community, spread when Williams transferred to Wredling and his wife, Rachel Williams, introduced it at Haines and, now, Thompson Middle School.

"A leadership team of 55 students is heavily involved in doing a lot of the planning and administering of the program at Richmond," said Silva, who is in his 10th year with the school district and also worked on the program at Davis School. "But all of the students benefit because there are different clubs that are offshoots of this."

Still, the program has become so popular, students interested in being on the leadership team have to apply for a position -- that many want to be part of overseeing the activities.

While the premise of Fuel Up to Play 60 is for students to be moving throughout the day for up to 60 minutes, the clubs that help reach those goals include a dance club, the Morning Fit Club before school, and the 100-mile Club, which encourages students to run during recess.

The notion that students aren't as active today because of smartphones, DVDs, streaming video or video games, gets some water thrown on it from Fuel Up to Play 60.

"Interestingly, our school is a one-to-one school, meaning each student has a Chrome Book," Silva said. "We use this technology as a tool to help us reach the goals of the program."

It's a case in which students are being taught to not allow technology to take over their lives, but at the same time using it as a guide to getting out and staying healthy and eating healthy food, Silva added.

"Technology can help us be active and spread the word about being healthy," he said.

When that rail comes: It never seems to go quite as smoothly as planned, or how it looks on paper, but there's a fairly good chance Metra and the Union Pacific rail lines will start working on adding a third train rail through Geneva next summer.

That's how the rail companies would like to see it happen. Anything that would alleviate the Union Pacific freight trains and Metra commuter trains competing for the same space, often at the same time, is something the rail executives would like to see unfold quickly.

But there's the little piece of the puzzle that calls for the railroad companies to acquire some land from property owners who will have to turn over some parcels for all of this to happen.

That's the part that, on occasion, can slow things down a bit.

Regardless of how all of that is hashed out, those who take the trains daily, and certainly those who are stopped at rail crossings often in Geneva, ultimately may find this to be a positive change.

After all, Geneva is one of only a few places that still has only two rail lines going through the station. It's not going to stop the number of trains barreling through on a daily basis, but it should eliminate what we encountered just the other day -- a long freight train stopped in a spot that called for the crossing guards to be down and flashing so that a commuter train could get through.

By the way, if you look over the historic artifacts at the Geneva History Museum, a photo of the Geneva train depot from years ago might catch your eye. It shows that there were only two rails even back in those days, too. But it was 1892, folks. Something tells me a few more trains have hopped on the rails since then.

Interesting "trees": I mentioned the annual Giving Tree Display at the Geneva History Museum last week, noting those interested in casting the $1 votes for their favorite trees have until Dec. 23 to do so.

We put our dollars in quite a few boxes at the display, so I'm not bringing this up to favor one tree over another.

But the Geneva Library Foundation's Christmas tree built solely out of books was quite interesting, as was the Salvation Army tree built out of canned goods. They both looked as if it took quite a bit of precision and care to put together.

Wanted that pizza: In craving pizza the other night, my autopilot was set to go straight to Morano's Pizza in Geneva, which of course is no longer in business at that Hamilton Street location.

It is now a private food service consulting business called TG Foods Inc.

In other words, no pizza there.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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