Columbus Tustin Middle School in the Tustin Unified School District was named the 2009 Orange County Region School of the Year and received a $5,000 check from the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Columbus Tustin already received a $1,000 check from the council as a preliminary award in May and competed against 165 Orange County schools for the top prize.
The council chose Columbus Tustin because it had 100% participation in their physical fitness program. That meant students were physically active for 30 to 60 minutes per day, for at least three days a week outside of the regular school day. The school has 927 students who, along with their parents and teachers, logged over 116,000 physical activity days, and submitted three essays in order to win the contest.
The first essay, "Commitment to Promoting Healthy Eating on Campus," spoke about how the school endorsed healthy foods and the steps being taken to make sure they continue to provide a healthy eating plan for its future students.
The second essay, "Support of Students' Physical Activity and Fitness," spoke about the Tustin Public Schools' Foundation's Dinosaur Dash, where students and their families are encouraged to run, jog or walk in a 2K, 5K, or 10K route. It also addressed their new and innovative program called the First Annual Fastest Mile Invitational. The physical education staff hopes this program will become a tradition.
The third and final essay, "Need for a New Fitness Center," addressed the student obesity issue at the school. The essay argued that a new fitness center would make their students physical fitness role models, thereby encouraging their parents to become physically fit, and could potentially reduce violence and gang activity in the area.
Congratulations to physical education teacher Shawn Post, who coordinated the award submissions and physical fitness programs at the school; and also to the staff, parents, and most of all, the students.