Local PE Teacher Honored With Grant

By the very nature of his job, John Parks, a physical education teacher at Moore Elementary School, is dedicated to fitness and health. Under the expert guidance from three physical educators, the program at Moore is considered one of the best in the state and serves as the only Tennessee “Demonstration Center,” as designated by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Physical educators from across the state and country come to Moore Elementary annually to learn about best practices in the field.

parks, moore elementary 2One of the programs closest to the heart of Parks, however, is Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart (JRFH/HFH). He recently learned that he was selected as one of only 13 national Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart (JRFH/HFH) grant recipients from SHAPE America – the Society of Health and Physical Educators. He will be recognized on Thursday, March 19, at an awards ceremony during the association’s National Convention & Expo in Seattle.

Recipients are recognized for their passion and commitment for physical education and the JRFH/HFH program, which promotes physical education and provides children with knowledge of heart disease and stroke. The funds raised go toward cardiovascular disease and stroke research and health education. Parks has been holding both Jump and Hoop events for his entire 29-year teaching career. The $2500 grant includes a US Games gift certificate to enhance the PE program at Moore, a one-year SHAPE America membership, as well as expenses paid for travel and registration to the national convention.

“This program holds a very special place in my heart because we hold the event in memory of former student Mitch DuAime, who lost his life at the age of 15 from a congenital heart defect,” Parks said. Each year, the students are told DuAime’s story and how important raising money is to continue research and treatments.

Heart lessons are weaved into the PE program at Moore throughout the year. Students as young as five learn jump rope skills in their daily physical education classes. A jump rope team meets in the morning to practice routines to perform in front of their fellow students at the event. Teachers also participate to show students you are never too old to jump and be physically active.

About SHAPE America

SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives. As the nation’s largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals, SHAPE America works with its 50 state affiliates and national partners to support the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let’s Move! Active Schools and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs. Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our resources provide the leadership, professional development and advocacy that support health and physical educators at every level — from pre-school to university graduate programs. For more information, visit www.shapeamerica.org.