Newell teacher does heavy lifting to get new fitness center

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) – Wednesday, students, faculty, and staff from the Newell School District were joined by Governor Kristi Noem to cut the ribbon on their $100,000 DON’T QUIT fitness center.

The center is sponsored by a grant from the National Foundation for Governor’s Fitness Council, whose mission is “to build a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world.” They do this by building gyms for schools across the country, and now South Dakota has been added to the list.

Newell was nominated by Anna Erk, who works at the middle school as a teacher and the high school as a weight trainer.

“I don’t think it really hit me yet, the extent of how much we actually have right now, like the ability to use that P.E. classes, sports classes, so many different people,” said Erk. “A lot of the staff members want to come down and learn how to get physically fit. I mean it just had a ripple effect that was way larger than I intended, which is awesome cause it’s going to be a real help to the community.”

To earn the award, students worked together to create a video showcasing their Irrigator spirit. The Newell students wrote the script, shot the footage, and put their video together.

“Basically, one day we were just sitting in study hall… and Ms. Erk wanted us to start working on this video, so we started working on it and took a lot of our time,” said Braylee Freytag, a 9th-grade student featured in the video.

“We had a lot of video fragments. So, I mean, we did lots of videos here and there, I mean we did have a lot at the green screen, and we had some in here. I don’t know, it was just a whole mess. And then we finally got it together it and that was great,” said Sarah Erk, another 9th-grader featured in the video.

“What I mostly did was take them and put them together and then we made the video and then some we had to put an over voice on them, so we could hear them,” said Bodie Vanderboom, an 8th-grade student who helped with the editing process.

Along with Newell, two other schools – Sturgis Williams Middle School and Custer Elementary – also received fitness centers from the grant.

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