DAYTON — Wyoming has a reputation for being a more physically active state than many others, so perhaps it comes as no surprise that 20 percent of the Tongue River High School student body shows up at 7 a.m. to lift weights at school.
In efforts to promote an all-around healthy lifestyle, Tongue River gives students many options like weight lifting to learn about health benefits, stay physically active and consume nutritious meals.
There are many places for a student to go to learn about a healthy lifestyle at TRHS.
Tongue River’s health education teacher Dianne Moser provides lessons for sophomores on how to take care of their bodies. Some of these lessons include: how to decipher reading food labels, how to maintain one’s weight, daily water consumption, personal fitness goals and the six basic nutrients a person should have in their diet.
As an additional resource for health information, English teacher Andee Anderson provides seniors with an in-depth look at health and fitness.
During a unit where the students become problem solvers, the seniors take an extensive look at America’s food systems. They watch several documentaries such as “Food Inc.,” talk to local nutritionists and analyze articles that give reasons for teen obesity.
“It is vital for students to learn about their nutritional choices and to question mainstream corporate ideals,” Anderson said. “Not only does it help improve concentration and other functions at school but also helps with their overall well-being. They learn to not buy-in to advertising and fast food temptations.”
Moving from information to action, 82 percent of TRHS students are involved in activities. This includes weight training classes as well as extracurricular athletics.
The school began implementing the weight program during school in the 2013-14 school year. Now, it has been extended beyond the school day to start in the morning, which has helped students wake up and focus within the classroom.
There is an array of sport activities that also assist with achieving maximum health. Between volleyball, basketball, football, cross-country and indoor and outdoor track, kids are trained how to maintain a healthy weight, stretch to avoid injury and exercise regularly.
John Scott, the weight lifting instructor, says that the need for additional programs was evident outside the school walls.
“It was painfully obvious we were well behind the teams we were competing against in terms of physical development and confidence,” Scott said.
However, all the information and activities would not be as successful without the nutritious options the students are provided at lunch.
“One of the guiding principles of the new lunch program is to ensure that students had the nutrition and energy they needed to learn,” Jeremy Smith, the business manager for Sheridan County School District 1, said.
Each student has the option of either a regular meal, a premium meal or a previously made salad.
To accompany their meals, there is a large salad bar that provides two types of salad mixtures, as well as seeds, vegetables, beans and fruits.
Beverage options include flavored waters, Gatorade, teas and milk.
Tongue River also stays healthy by purchasing food from local growers and distributors. All of the vegetables — such as carrots, cucumbers and peppers — come from Holliday Family Farms.
Nutritional health is an essential part of the development of teen athletes as well as students. Many studies have provided evidence that students must have well-balanced diets and exercise regimens to give their full potential and focus not only in athletics, but in the classroom as well.
Tongue River acknowledges this fact and to the best of the school board’s abilities, they have encouraged and helped students to be the best and healthiest versions of themselves.
By Leeanna Mitchell, Tongue River High School