Lesson Learned (May 5)


Aerobic exercise has always expanded my coping capacity and my learning ability. My “always” began in grade school with summer Little League Baseball, coached by my superhero Frank Feola. He gave us a chance to meet daily at the Academy Grade School sports field and play ball. He taught us the rules of the game and in a larger sense, the rules of life—play fair, play hard, play to win but be gracious in losing.

A daily run became part of my life’s routine. I ran in rain, sun, snow, early in the morning and late at night. West Virginia Wesleyan College often became a destination point heading out from my parents’ home up on the hill behind Buckhannon City Park. Even on my wedding day, September 13, 1975, I ran. That day another hero of mine ran with me. Coach Hank Ellis lapped Ross Field multiple times that memorable day. He sized me up and down, appraising me: “Doc, you never looked better!” His simple praise sustained my running for the next 45 years and 9 months of my marriage to Araceli, my beloved. Now that she is in Heaven, I continue my aerobic exercise alone.

Therefore, quite naturally my ears perked up when the agenda item VIII: Move 304 came up for discussion April 19 during our bi-monthly regular meeting of the Upshur County Schools Board of Education. AEROBIC EXERCISE!

I am certainly in favor of Move 304. We have many splendid enterprises in our mountain community of Buckhannon, West Virginia. However, what could be more exceptional than offering our Transitional School students the opportunity for summer aerobics at Move 304, the fitness gym in downtown Buckhannon? The Move 304 staff presented to the BOE. We received them well. “For the sake of the children” has guided our every step as a board. Transitional Students have demonstrated all the values other students exhibit given a chance to build a healthy lifestyle.

Our Buckhannon-Upshur Transitional School is an alternative learning program offered to students off-campus. In this personalized environment, students are able to recover or gain credits needed for graduation. Transitional School students are asked to commit to the Move 304 program at least three days a week during the duration of summer, with vacation, illness, etc. being kept in mind. They can begin taking fitness classes once their school obligations have been completed and can continue until school resumes in August.

Jena Fealy from Move 304 enthusiastically explains the rational for aerobic exercise to set our students on an open trail running into their future. Her motivation and driving force is to offer this for the Transitional Students, seeking a direct measurable result for their healthy growth. I offer my own living example showing the benefit of aerobic exercise. If I can be a kid who flourishes, then any child can do the same.

Yes, there are costs to the program, covering facility cost, equipment usage, and coaching fees that are in line with normal membership pricing, as they will have the same opportunity and usage availability as current members. This price is $130 per month, per athlete, with unlimited classes. This scholarship covers 3 months, with the total being $390 per student athlete. For this price, these athletes will be coach led, held accountable for class attendance, and be introduced to weekly goal setting to ensure their success, both inside and outside of the facility, is met.

As she explains, “At this time, this scholarship opportunity will be offered solely to the transitional students. They have been participating with Move 304 for the last 5 months and have learned the foundations of the functional fitness Movements that we do within our workouts to reduce the possibility of injury. If this scholarship opportunity is perceived well, we will investigate furthering this opportunity within Buckhannon-Upshur High School.”

The Move 304 staff see continuing to improve mentally, emotionally, and physically as vital summer goals. Scholarships from interested citizens can be a way to have a summer program. They are looking for people who would like to sponsor a student or make a monetary donation toward a student’s scholarship. You can contact Jena Fealy via email at [email protected] The investment can encourage the most vulnerable among us.

Just as I have sustained daily exercise, my children—Maria, a physician, and Ronce, an attorney—have adopted the practice. They endorse the Move 304 program. I draw a circle in my own life back to Coach Frank Feola and Coach Hank Ellis, who invested in me and greatly encouraged me, opening up an abundant life.

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