Hunter Williams (above) learns a new exercise technique being taught in Stanly County Schools.

The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

A new high tech sports program has been enacted at South Stanly Middle School.

The program incorporates the new technology making sports and physical education more interesting and fun for students.

Physical education teachers from the county and state attended a presentation of the program Wednesday at the gymnasium at the school.

“We are using the concept to get kids entertained and motivated,” said Tom Root, CEO of HOPSports training systems.

“Just like adults do when that watch TV or take their iPod at the gym.”

Root says that the HOPSports training system is a flexible and adaptable program that can keep exercise fresh and interesting to youth to help with the concept of physical education for life.

The programs enlist professional athletes, celebrities and musicians to get messages across on social and health issues and are aimed to keep physical fitness entertaining.

“The main thing is HOPSports is committed to make North Carolina fit and safe,” said Cindy Sisson, spokesperson for HOPSports.

“HOPSports is underwriting 23 schools in North Carolina. We hope to get organizations to adopt other sites across the state.”

Sisson said one goal of HOPSports is to localize the content of the program.

The company launched a pilot program in 56 school in Los Angeles Wake County and Washington, D.C.

The program is based on video modules that last for 30 minutes. The program can display up to three screens simultaneously along with a trailer at the bottom with additional information about the raining module.

The system consists of a TiVo video system, projector, sound system, training mat and a physio-ball.

The training mat is made up of interlocking high density foam tiles. The tiles are placed to together to make a six foot square mat that has printed patterns providing targets to aid in teaching.

The program also helps teachers that are not familiar with subject matter they may be teaching. In the past teachers may not have taught a specific subject due to lack of sports specific knowledge.

The administration at South Stanly Middle School is up beat about the introduction of the program.

“As a former P.E. teacher I am excited to see the the technology used in other subjects finally applied to physical education.” said South Stanly Principal Sam Basden, “This is the next big step.”

“I think it is fantastic with the emphasis on music and rhythm.” South Stanly Vice Principal Ann Watson said, “Kids of all ages should love it.”

The new physical education teacher at South Stanly Middle, Cheryl Edwards, is responsible for getting the program at the middle school.

“I went to a workshop last fall and met Tom Root of HOPSports,” Edwards said, “I am really excited about the program, the whole program is great for fitness and sports and wows the student, it keeps them motivated.”

The program has been made available through a grant.

The sixth, seventh and eighth graders at South Stanly Middle were introduced to the program Friday and Monday.

“The students were really excited, they got to see a portion of some of the workouts and did some moves on the stability balls.” Edwards said, “I feel very fortunate to be able to bring this type of program to the school and students.”

“I hope to see fitness scores improve and health awareness increase and build on fitness for a lifetime.”

The program will be at South Stanly for the whole year. North Stanly High will have the program for the first semester of the year and West Stanly will have the program the second semester, Angie Lefler will be teaching the programs at the two high schools.

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