WESTMONT – Expectations today hold schools accountable for not only students' level of book smarts but also for students' knowledge of and level of physical health.
It's this mentality, according to Principal John Jonak, that has lead Westmont Junior High School to reach out to the community for help in its search for new or upgraded fitness equipment.
"Physical fitness is something that's equally as important [as education]," Jonak said. "If you're not growing your mind and body, it can lead to problems later in life."
The majority of the junior high's cardio equipment is in pretty bad shape, according to one of the school's physical education teachers, Rich Cornaccia. He said the workout equipment is a big part of their program.
"With the amount of kids we have in each class and with the amount of available equipment, we don't want kids just sitting around taking turns," Cornaccia said. "We're trying to teach lifelong fitness and we stress to the kids that working with the machines is something they can do for life."
It's not only disappointing to have unusable machines, but it's also becoming a safety concern Cornaccia said.
"If they don't work properly, it's not even safe to have at the same time," Cornaccia said.
Many of the machines don't have working displays or are completely broken, Jonak said, adding the school is seeking ellipticals and bikes as well as one treadmil.
When the current machines were purchased more than 12 years ago quantity was valued more than quality, according to Jonak, who said he's been working with the Parent-Teacher Organization to find funds.
Jonak and PTO members are looking for individuals or companies to step up, he said.
"I just really want to get some decent equipment up here."
While the school is approaching companies and community members for machine donations, the school's PTO is also planning fundraisers to help out financially, according to PTO Publicity Chair Kelly Reid.
Sometime in March, the PTO will host a fundraiser at Pinstripes in Oak Brook with a dinner and raffle raising funds for new equipment. A date has not yet been announced.
Although he's optimistic about gaining new equipment for the students, Jonak said he's also trying to be a realist.
"It doesn't hurt to ask especially when kids are going to benefit," Jonak said. "I'm not expecting this to be overnight or even before the end of the school year, we're just getting the word out."
How to help
Contact Westmont Junior High School Principal John Jonak at 630-468-8200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.