Heritage High takes honors in GoTrybeTN.com contest

All smiles about GoTrybe during a check presentation to the school are, from left, principal Patricia Mandigo, José Castillo of GoTrybe, Blount County Schools health coordinator Mary Beth Blevins and Heritage athletic director Terri Bradshaw.

All smiles about GoTrybe during a check presentation to the school are, from left, principal Patricia Mandigo, José Castillo of GoTrybe, Blount County Schools health coordinator Mary Beth Blevins and Heritage athletic director Terri Bradshaw.

Since early 2008, more than 30 East Tennessee schools have been on the run, lunge and bend - with GoTrybeTN.com. Now, five of the 35 schools using the youth fitness program have emerged victorious from their first mini-marathon. Heritage High School came in rousing third.

Competing for the most points per student in April, Daniel Boone and David Crockett high schools in Washington County, Science Hill in Johnson City, Sullivan South High School in Sullivan County and Heritage took the top five school spots, while teachers in Washington and Sullivan counties and Johnson City posted the top five totals. Crockett and Boone placed first and second among the schools, respectively, while South and SHHS were fourth and fifth, respectively.

GoTrybe.com is a Web-based interactive fitness and wellness site based in the Tri-Cities that delivers exercises online, focusing on what co-founder Dr. Bill Joyner calls “active screen time participation.” This Tennessee program, funded by the state Department of Health, is being used by 17 school districts in Tennessee as a tool to help teachers and students meet the 90-minute physical activity mandate.

“It was fun for my teachers for my students,” said Terri Bradshaw, Heritage High director of athletics and physical education chair. “They really had a good time doing it they really got competitive between the classes.”

The contest’s intensive use of the Web fitness program has brought new insights into GoTrybe’s value in the schools, local administrators say. “The faculty at both high schools have been especially enthusiastic about this initiative,” said Dr. William Flanary of Washington County Schools. “Apparently, the push toward youth fitness hit a nerve with a great many of our teachers, and they welcomed the opportunity to not only push physical activity with their students but to participate with them …

In addition to helping schools meet state requirements, GoTrybe offers a welcome diversion and energizer, one of the winning teachers said. “GoTrybe has encouraged the classes to be more active,” said Sullivan South languages teacher Melanie Calhoun, who uses the program every day. “When the students begin to get tired, they request to exercise.”

Using GoTrybe, Calhoun says Sullivan South teachers have really gotten students in step by integrating Salsa dancing, as well as kickboxing, into their classroom activities.

Another advantage to using GoTrybe, says School Health Coordinator for Blount County Schools Mary Beth Blevins, is its automated administrative tracking system. “One of the positive things - because we already had a good physical fitness program - is (GoTrybe) has allowed teachers to document on a regular basis what the teachers and students are doing to meet the 90 minutes of physical activity requirement. That’s been a very nice tool for them.”

GoTrybeTN.com updates usage points and content daily and invites young people through high school age to, through their school or independently, join a Trybe based on age and grade. The Web site delivers fitness videos, led by certified fitness instructors and based on a framework created by Olympic athlete trainers, composed of daily workouts including warm up, cardio, strength and flexibility segments. “Trybers” using the Web site, may work out and/or access nutrition content developed by registered dietitians and wellness information about good, general health.

In fact, the health and wellness tip sections may have much potential, Bradshaw says. “I have looked a lot at the questions of the day,” she said. “I would like to have more of that.”

Bradshaw, too, has her eye on the GoTrybe fitness videos for another healthful purpose at Heritage. “We are very interested as a department in the video portion to use in a new personal fitness class we are starting in fall,” she said. “The exercise part is great to be able to build your own routine. We would like to really use that as part of a PE class.”

The healthy competition has been a learning experience for schools and for GoTrybe, says GoTrybe Vice President of Creative Development Robert Baggett. “When you first start creating and building something you really never imagine the impact it may have,” Baggett said. “It’s great to see students and teachers working together and learning to be healthier.

“Congrats to all those who worked hard to be their best and win top prizes in the GoTrybe contest. Keep it up!”

GoTrybe.com students have logged more than 3,000 hours of activity time and exercised with more than 6,000 videos earning more than 9 million points, which can be used to be redeemed for online games and avatar upgrades.

© 2008 blounttoday.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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