TOPEKA, Kansas (WIBW) -- While shrinking budgets have many schools trimming back on physical education, one area district is beefing up its wellness efforts.
The Seaman district sent a message that staying fit should be a fun activity through its annual Wellness Night. Officials have consistently been pushing healthy living with recent projects.
"We want our community here in Topeka, Shawnee County, to get up, get active, because we want longevity, we want them to have a healthy life," Physical Education and Health teacher Claudia Welch said.
She teaches at Seaman High School and was one of the four appointed by the Kansas Governor's Council on Fitness to be a Physical Activity Champion for Shawnee County. Misty Kruger, public information officer for the Shawnee County Health Agency; Chris Tuck, Seaman school district nurse; and Jessica Weil, health advocate for the Auburn Washburn school district were also chosen.
Over the years, Seaman High School has made health a priority. One of the ways is through its annual community Wellness Night, an invitation to grab a friend, or go as a family, and get fit.
"If you can find a good friend, someone to visit with while you're working out, that's what it's all about," Welch said. "We want to try to have activities that parents can do with their kids. If they see their parents out running and walking, eating healthy, they're going to be doing the same thing."
Students, families and other people from the community participated in zumba dancing, ultimate frisbee, football, running and walking. Health information was available from 11 health organizations at nearby booths.
13 News got to see another wellness project Seaman High is working on for the coming winter.
"It's been a big focus in our district," Director of Communications for the Seaman school district Jeff Zehnder said.
A mile-long gravel trail will wrap around the high school, thanks to two grants totaling more than $185,000.
The largest, in the amount of $160,000, came from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. The second came from the Sunflower Foundation for $24,000.
It was initially thought of for the school's cross country runners, to take their practice runs off Topeka streets and onto a safe trail.
"It'll be for our cross country kids, for the public to use, for anybody who is really interested. This is a big thing moving forward," Zehnder.
He said the district has found ways, like aggressively seeking out and applying for federal grants, to move around budget cuts.
The Wellness Night was also the launch of "Get Active Kansas!" - a statewide campaign to encourage healthier lifestyles, a response by the Governor's Office to curb obesity.