Play Hard, Live Clean Challenges Youth to Be Active

Black trash bags were the new uniform of choice for Northern Middle School staff members selected by students to receive a pie in the face as the student reward for excelling in the October Play Hard, Live Clean physical activity challenge. Pictured above, from left to right, are Mr. Chris Jones and Mr. Tony Lancianese showing off their sweet facials.

The Play Hard, Live Clean (PHLC) healthy lifestyle campaign, conducted jointly by the Garrett County Health Department and the Garrett County Public Schools, is designed to encourage youth to make good choices by recognizing and rewarding them for certain positive lifestyle accomplishments from kindergarten through graduation.

Students in the Garrett County middle schools recently completed the first challenge for this school year. They were challenged during October to complete at least 10 sessions of physical activity for at least 10 minutes per session. Students could choose from a list of suggested activities or add in their own. Some of the physical activities that students recorded were soccer, dance class, wrestling a brother, cleaning the stalls in a barn, and chopping and stacking wood.

The staff at each school decided how to promote the challenge to their students. At Northern Middle School (NMS), the physical education teachers challenged all students to go above and beyond and complete more than 10 activities within the month. Any student who achieved more than 10 was entered in a drawing for the incentives provided by the health department. A total of 196 students rose to that challenge (>10 activities), with an additional 77 completing the minimum 10 activities. That resulted in an overall 85% completion rate by the student body at NMS.

As an additional incentive, all students who completed more than 10 sessions of physical activity in October were entered in a drawing to be chosen to throw a pie at the staff member of their choice. Three students were selected from each grade. Two of those students chose Mr.  Chris Jones, Band, Chorus, and Music Teacher, for their pies in the face, and seven chose Mr. Tony Lancianese, Vice Principal.

At Southern Middle School (SMS), the homeroom with the highest completion rate received a Play Hard, Live Clean sling bag, and that homeroom was Mrs. Jackie Stuck’s sixth-grade class with 75% completion. Overall, 18% of the student body at SMS completed the physical activity challenge.

The school with the highest completion rate after each challenge gets the honor of hosting Bernard the Bear (a life-size bear caricature) in their lobby until the next challenge is completed. NMS earned this honor and has been joined by Bernard for November.

The second challenge is currently underway and focuses on being caffeine-free for at least 10 days in November.

For more information about PHLC, visit the website or call the health department at 301-334-7730 or 301-895-3111.