Chicago Leaders Commend Students, Teachers for Getting Active with PALA Challenge

December 19, 2011

This fall, we were thrilled to join students, teachers, school dining managers and other members of Chicago’s school community in taking on the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) Challenge! This challenge encourages kids and adults alike to make physical activity a regular part of their daily life by logging physical activity. Kids who are active for one hour a day, five days a week for six out of eight weeks receive commendation and a certificate from the president! (Adults follow the same schedule but for 30 minutes a day.) Individuals can also meet the challenge by wearing a pedometer to track a certain number of steps each day. 

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Walsh Elementary students at the PALA Kick-Off earlier this year

More than 2,000 Chicago Public Schools students met the challenge with the support of their creative physical education teachers and school leaders. 1World Sports led the effort in Chicago along with HSC, CPS and Aetna, which donated 3,000 pedometers to students! We all celebrated the students’ success at a special event at Robert A. Black Elementary School. 

Cornell McClellan, President Obama's personal trainer and a member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, visited the school to congratulate students.

Since the PALA Challenge began, leaders from across Chicago have shared congratulations and encouraging words for the students: 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said: “I am committed to creating an environment in Chicago where families can be healthy, active and enjoy the city's vibrant parks and communities. I'm excited the Chicago Public Schools is participating in the PALA challenge to help ensure our students and teachers are learning to be healthy and active every day.”

Jesse H. Ruiz, Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education, said: “Physical activity is key to a healthy lifestyle and a sound education. I commend all those taking on the PALA challenge at CPS and look forward to joining you in making fitness a priority. I hope that the habit of daily physical activity is one that endures long after the challenge ends.”

Jean-Claude Brizard, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, said: “We know that active students are better prepared to focus and do their best in school. That's why I'm so pleased that students, teachers, dining managers and many others across Chicago Public Schools are committing to the PALA challenge. I applaud this commitment and am proud to add my name to the roster of those taking on the challenge in CPS.”

Congratulations to all the students, teachers and school leaders who took on this challenge. As PE teacher Mable Askew said when the challenge launched: “Stay fit!”

For more information about Chicago’s efforts to elevate school fitness, check out Go for the Gold.