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Patch High School freshman Laura Ingold performs a lat-pulldown during a physical education class on Friday. The school uses the Patch Barracks Fitness Center for the classes since it has limited equipment on-site.

Patch High School freshman Laura Ingold performs a lat-pulldown during a physical education class on Friday. The school uses the Patch Barracks Fitness Center for the classes since it has limited equipment on-site. (David Josar / S&S)

STUTTGART, Germany — Elizabeth Hadeed, a ninth-grader at Patch High School, pedaled slowly on the stationary bicycle in the fitness center at Patch Barracks.

She was in the third and final day of her physical education class’s session on lifetime sports and fitness, during which students learned how to properly use weights and other fitness equipment and create their own training programs.

“It’s OK,” Elizabeth said of last week’s session. She runs cross country and said she needs weight training to build more muscle mass. “I learned some things I didn’t know before.”

This is the second year Patch High School physical education teachers have turned to the Patch Fitness Center to teach the fitness class.

Teacher Carol Heffernan said the fitness facilities at the high school are too small to handle weight-training sessions, so the school contacted Bryant Searcy, fitness director for the 6th Area Support Group, who offered the fitness center as a classroom.

Department of Defense Dependents Schools requires students to have two terms of physical education to graduate, which they can complete in one year.

Heffernan said this unit is important because students can acquire skills they can use throughout their lives.

“If you get kids started now, there’s a good chance they’ll stick with it the rest of their lives,” she said.

First-year physical education teacher Brian Tingey said the students are taught how to have a good workout in only 40 minutes.

He hopes the students learn workout habits they can follow for a long time.

“Some will become couch potatoes, some will go the other extreme, but research shows people who have this sort of experience are more likely to exercise regularly,” he said.

Karen Baker, the fitness coordinator for the 6th ASG, said the instruction the high school students receive is priceless.

“Many adults don’t know the right way to use the equipment,” she said. “These kids are learning.”

And instead of a class of students being a disruption, they are viewed as a welcome addition by most of the other patrons at the fitness center, Baker said.

“People want to help the kids … offer them tips, explain the equipment. It’s a good fit,” she said.

Sophomore Matthew Kriswell called the fitness sessions “a good opportunity.”

“My dad taught me how to use some of the equipment, but this is better,” he said.

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