- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
UC Cooperative Extension nutrition educators in Tulare County nominated two local principals and a teacher for the 6th Annual California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Spotlight Awards, said an article in the Visalia Times-Delta. A committee will select one outstanding principal and one outstanding teacher from among the nominees. Supporting comments that can be made until June 30 on the website, in addition to the written nominations, will be considered by the committee in selecting the awardees.
Gold medalists receive $10,000 to further promote physical activity in their communities, silver medalists receive $2,500 and bronze medalists receive $1,000.
Anyone can go to the Governor's Council website and show support for the nominees by clicking "like," which tallies support from people who have Facebook accounts, clicking "support," or writing supportive comments.
Tulare County UCCE nutrition educator Julie Cates nominated principal Ira Porchia of Roosevelt School. Twice per year Porchia purchases a children's bicycle and all students with perfect attendance are entered into a bike lottery, Cates wrote in the nomination.
“Some kids just need a carrot dangled in front of them, a small incentive,” Porchia told Cates.
Cates said Porchia cheerfully reads facts and trivia related to fruits and vegetables provided by the UCCE Nutrition Program over the intercom and came into a classroom to personally pedal a “fruit smoothie bike," a bicycle modified to spin healthy ingredients in a blender mounted behind the seat.
Cates also nominated third-grade teacher Melissa Van Osch from Frank Kohn Elementary School. Van Osch coordinates an annual “Jump Rope for Heart" and during the month of December she used "The 12 Days of Fitness" physical activity curriculum in her classroom.
UCCE nutrition educator Leonila Leon nominated principal Valerie Brown of Maple Elementary School. Brown supports nutrition and fitness programs that allow students to become healthier, the nomination says. Brown enrolled several of her teachers into the UCCE nutrition program. The teachers receive a curriculum to teach students about healthy eating and exercise.