2006-04-28 / Sports

Jets'Coleman,Scholars Academy Get Active

By Elio Velez

Coleman does bungee cord exercises with as a few of the I.S. 323 Scholar Academy students look on. Coleman does bungee cord exercises with as a few of the I.S. 323 Scholar Academy students look on. The thirty school kids from the new IS 323 Scholars Academy on Beach 104 Street got a nice surprise when they were asked to stay after school. To their amazement, school principal

Brian O' Connell and Department of Education Region 5 officials welcomed a special guest into the gymnasium.

To the surprise of the 12 and 13 year old students, New York Jets starting safety Erik Coleman walked into the gym. He stressed the importance of health-related fitness as a part of a campaign in cooperation with the National Football League and the Department of Education C.H.A.M.P.S. Program last Wednesday afternoon.

Coleman was joined by officials from the NFL, who announced the formation of the 2006 National NFLFitness program which will start this fall. Coleman was among five New York Jets and New York Giants football players who visited schools in the five boroughs in conjunction with the NFLdraft, which starts on Saturday at Radio City Music Hall.

The NFLand the NYC Department of Education will create events and sponsor promotions to further health fitness starting in the fall.

Brian O' Connell, school principal of IS 323 shakes hands with Erik Coleman. O'Connell threw a couple of football passes to Coleman. Brian O' Connell, school principal of IS 323 shakes hands with Erik Coleman. O'Connell threw a couple of football passes to Coleman. The C.H.A.M.P.S. (Cooperative, Healthy, Active, Motivated, Positive, Students) was created for middle school students to participate in before or after school activities. Started in 2004, kids can participate in traditional sports such as basketball or tennis and or other sports such as golf, crew and gymnastics.

Coleman, who will play in his third season with the Jets after graduating from Washington State University, did a question and answer session with the kids and took part in fitness workout skills.

At the end of the day, Coleman threw footballs to the 30 school children in pass catching exercises. The gym class was made up of boys and girls who are in the IS 323 volleyball and lacrosse teams set up by the Department of Education. "They're active but I'm trying to emphasize how important it is. Alot of kids don't get active at this age. If you can get active at a young age, they stay healthy as they get older," Coleman said.

Erik Coleman of the New York Jets talks to the schoolchildren of the Scholars Academy at IS 323-Scholars Academy on Wednesday afternoon. Photos by Pete Borriello. Erik Coleman of the New York Jets talks to the schoolchildren of the Scholars Academy at IS 323-Scholars Academy on Wednesday afternoon. Photos by Pete Borriello. "This is a great age because these kids can have fun and right now the habits you learn, eat right, work out and lift weights because you have to do that to stay ahead."

Kathleen Walker, Director of Fitness and Physical Development from Region 5, was one of the Depart of Education officials on hand who were excited in the partnership and the success of the C.H.A.M.P.S. intiative.

"We're very excited. This is the third year of CHAMPS. If anything we're going to grow and not going to cut back. The kids are there," Walker said.

Since the inception of the pilot program in Region 5, who oversees schools in Rockaway, Ozone Park and Ocean Hill-Brownsville, Walker says that kids have many choices of sports in which to stay fit.

"We have 1,000 kids in these programs every day in Region 5. It's good for everybody. It's good academically. They're happier. They can burn off some steam. They can pay attention better, are less distracted and have a good relationship with their coach."

Everyone looks happy inside the gymnasium of IS 323. Everyone looks happy inside the gymnasium of IS 323.

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