This year, faculty members across Steinbrenner and even the county have been participating in challenges against each other to celebrate health and competitive spirit. Using Fitbits, teachers track their steps during the workweek. At the end of the week, the person with the most steps is declared the winner.
“We’re just trying to be healthy, and it motivates us,” said chemistry teacher Michelle James-Yarish.
Through Humana Vitality and Go365, the members of the fitness groups have another incentive. According to their website, reaching certain health goals earns gift cards and savings. Humana awards participants for step challenges and other workouts, and also for being active in their own health and wellness in other ways. Still, the most important part about the step challenges is being closer with the people on the Steinbrenner team and kindling friendly competition – all towards the goal of better health.
“A number of the faculty members compete in challenges together through Humana Vitality, and we have a Steinbrenner team where we compete with other schools. We all help each other to reach our goals. It’s nice to have a community that cares for each other, and that cares about health,” said biology teacher Greg Puskas.
The biggest rivalry seems to be between math teacher Marie Puskas and science teacher Roschell Thybulle. Both of them have won many of the weekly challenges and both have walked upwards of 100,000 steps in a single workweek. However, math teacher Lisabeth Leist once walked 120,000.
“[Puskas] works out every day, maybe twice a day. It’s good to have somebody to motivate you. Competition is good. One time, her and Mrs. Leist got 100,000 steps in 5 days,” said Thybulle.
“Mrs. Thybulle is a Zumba fanatic, so she gets a ton of steps there. I love it. It makes me work hard. I’m not normally that competitive,” said Puskas.
Other members of the weekly challenges include teachers Dean Robertson, James Flaskamp, Calvin Dillon, coach Jose Jordan, Assistant Principal Mark Watson, and Principal Kelly King. Around the school, there are other fitness groups whose challenges are not always weekly step goals. There are monthly goals, as well as weight loss. While there are some additional benefits from Humana that come with participating in some of the Go365 events, it is way more than just that.
“It’s super motivating, because you’ll get home and maybe you didn’t move as much as you thought you were going to move that day, and you check the leader-board and see that someone is 5,000 steps in front of you and you’re like ‘Okay, I can go walk for a little bit’, just to go get the bragging rights,” said Leist.
It is clear that the challenges of Fitbit and Go365 have contributed not only to better health, but to stronger friendships, a stronger sense of healthy competition , and most importantly a stronger school community.
Sara Gofter // Staff Writer