MORGAN HOOVER, NEWS-PRESS CORRESPONDENT
June 19, 2009 7:27 AM
A Santa Barbara Charter school is rising to the challenge -- the Governor's Challenge.
The Cèsar Chávez Dual Language Immersion Charter school is in the running to win a $100,000 fitness center in the Governor's Challenge Competition, a contest promoting increased physical activity and better health among California's youth.
It has implemented several healthier policies, including serving nutritious snacks such as fruit salad or watermelon slices at birthday parties.
"From time to time, the kids will be like, 'Why can't we have Cheetos?'" said Principal Eva Neuer. "But they realize, 'I like celery sticks with hummus' or 'I like mango.'"
The school has also made it easy for students to be active for the contest-required 30 to 60 minutes at least three times a week, holding dance parties in music class and implementing basketball and track teams for the first time.
"We have a runner's club and a cheerleading group for the sixth graders, and next year we're going to have a walker's club," said Mrs. Neuer, who does her part by wearing sneakers to school every day.
"The way our campus is spread out, I can do my job better," she said. "And it's better for my health because I can move around more."
This is the second year the school has participated in the contest, which is put on by the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
Three other Central Coast schools have been named finalists in the competition, including Hueneme High School and Robert J. Frank Intermediate School, both in Oxnard, and Lang Ranch Elementary School in Thousand Oaks. One of of these four schools will be named a regional winner and receive $5,000 in physical fitness equipment.
Three grand prize winners will be named from the list of 92 finalists and will receive a fitness center.