Newport Mill Middle School Unveils New Fitness Center

At ribbon-cutting rally, Hogan called it “shining example of public-private partnerships”


Entrepreneur Jake Steinfeld (left) and Gov. Larry Hogan watch students test out the new workout equipment at Newport Mill Middle School.

Joe Zimmermann

Amped up by a pep rally, hundreds of students cheered Tuesday as officials announced the opening of the school’s new fitness center.

Newport Mill Middle School in Kensington was one of three schools in the state selected to receive a $100,000 “DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center,” a program by the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils.

The Foundation is chaired by Jake Steinfeld, a fitness entrepreneur and founder of the “Body by Jake” brand. It has brought fitness centers to more than 20 states.

In the school’s auditorium Tuesday, Steinfeld said he was overweight and had a stuttering problem when he was in middle school, but found confidence through exercise and hoped other students can, too.

“When you have confidence and self-esteem, you can do anything with your life,” he said. “When you exercise and feel great, you’re less likely to take a drug. When you exercise and feel great, you’re less likely to join a gang.”

The workout room features about 30 pieces of equipment for cardio, strength and flexibility training. The school previously had 10 working pieces of outdated equipment.

Gov. Larry Hogan, who attended the event with other state officials, said the new center would help promote health lifestyles “for the next generation of Marylanders.”

“Education is and always will be our top priority, and we’re working hard to make sure that every single child in Maryland has access to a world-class education, no matter what neighborhood they grow up in,” he said. “As Mr. Jake said, if you’re physically active and you’re healthy, then you’re more likely to be engaged and you’re going to do better in the classroom.”

After the pep rally, students and officials, including Principal Panagiota Tsonis, cut the ribbon for the facility and toured the room as a group of students cycled through the machines.

Hogan also praised the Fitness Councils’ work with companies. Partnerships with private companies like Nike and Wheels Up pay for the fitness centers, according to a press release.

“This program is the shining example of public-private partnerships that can change our schools and our communities for the better,” Hogan said.

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