During the 2019-2020 school year, each public school in Garrett County participated in the Garrett County Health Department’s Play Hard, Live Clean (PHLC) campaign, a healthy lifestyle campaign designed to encourages youth to make good choices by recognizing and rewarding them for certain positive lifestyle accomplishments from kindergarten through graduation.
“Every student in the Garrett County Public School System has the opportunity to participate in the PHLC challenges and that makes me so excited,” said James Michaels, Program Coordinator. “The Play Hard, Live Clean lifestyle is something I love to model for our students and community.”
“Although the onset of COVID-19 and the changes it brought to the school systems in the spring interrupted some parts of the PHLC process, the campaign still had a positive effect on almost 1,000 Garrett County students who were able to participate,” Michaels said.
Elementary and middle school students could participate in the following challenges lasting a month each:
- Physical Activity – 60 minutes per day for 10 days
- Nutrition Challenge – Milk/Water instead of soda or sugared drinks for 10 days
- Wellness Challenge – Elementary School Screen/Mindfulness Challenge; Middle School Adequate Sleep Challenge
Participating students received a bronze, silver, or gold medal for completing one, two, or three challenges. At the elementary level, the highest participation rate occurred at Crellin Elementary with 51% of students earning a medal. Between the middle schools, 31% of Southern Middle School students participated and 17% of Northern Middle School students.
“Most of the challenges were done through virtual education, so participation was lower than the previous years, but still noteworthy, nonetheless,” reported Michaels.
The campaign at the high school is primarily online, consisting of a pledge to not use alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana, and to not misuse prescription drugs, as well as monthly surveys about health topics. Thirty-two percent (32%) of high school students participated in the campaign with one in five of them being twelfth graders.
The culmination of the PHLC campaign for seniors is the awarding of a scholarship to one Northern High student and one Southern High student who earned points for participation in PHLC. The scholarship can be used for work expenses, health expenses, or further education of any kind. The winners for 2019-2020 were Alexis House from NHS and Jacob Nazelrod from SHS.
Play Hard, Live Clean for the 2020-2021 school year may look a little different, but staff expect it to be even bigger and better.
“The campaign is entering its fourth year,” Michaels remarked, “and we’re trying to build consistency with healthy lifestyle choices among all of our Garrett County youth. We have some exciting changes this school year and can’t wait to share them with all the students!”
For more information about the Play Hard, Live Clean campaign, visit the website at PlayHardLiveClean.com or contact the health department at 301-334-7730.