Dewey’s Doing It With Healthy Minds and Bodies

Top row, from left to right: Eric Young, Essence Route, Austin Johnson, Maurice Compton; Bottom row, left to right: Kevin Ingersoll, Paul Beverly, Antoine Ward, Paul Beverly with Antoine Ward. Photos and graphic by Adam L. Turner.

If ever there was a school that First Lady Michelle Obama would love to visit to commend for their commitment to excellence in physical fitness, it’s Dewey.
When it comes to fitness and health Dewey does it.
After four years the Dewey Academy has developed  an  innovative health and wellness program under the leadership of former Dewey Assistant Principal Mekael Johnson. With the help of a $20,000 grant from the Oakland Unified School District, Dewey launched its physical education wrap around program.  Under the program students and faculty also learn the benefits of a healthy diet and nutrition to augment their weekly physical activities.
The Dewey staff said that combination helps manage some of the behavioral and emotional issues for many of the students.
In 2007 Dewey created a gymnasium on campus and started a mixed martial arts program that included physical fitness training.  Dewey then expanded their program with the help of the 21st Century funding for after school activities. Contributions from Met West High School aided in the program’s development and allowed Met West High School to utilize Dewey’s gym.
Johnson credits the success of Dewey’s health mentoring, coaching and training from case manager Fernando Cruz, classroom teacher Kevin Ingersoll, California Youth Outreach Geoffrey Godfrey, former Principal Hattie Tate, personal trainer Maurice Compton and the launching of the wellness program “Dewey Fit.”
Dewey Fit has two components—“Train-the-Trainer” and   “Teacher Fit”, which, through  A2Z Fitness, brought professional personal trainers on the school campus to enhance the mental, physical and emotional wellness of Dewey’s students.
Dewey Fit prepares also prepares students to become health educators so that they can potentially find employment in the health and wellness field.  Principal Robin Glover said, “Our program slogans are “Healthy minds create healthy bodies” and “It’s simple and it works every time.”  During a one month process our students maintain a consistent workout regime themselves and offer others encouragement to embark on that program.”
Currently, there are six “Junior Fitness Warriors” who have the goal of training the entire student body on weight loss, enhancing body awareness, yoga and self-defense.
A recent Dewey graduate Eric Young,18, showed so much promise last year, he was hired by Dewey’s after school program coordinator Brooklyn Williams to co-facilitate this year’s program.
Glover also gave kudos to Fitness Warriors: De Valle Jones,18, Rudy Rodriguez-Diaz ,17, Johnny Nehm,17 and Chibwikem Onyenegecha, 17.  She also credited Paul Beverly, Strength Coach and Dewey’s after school program lead agency East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC).
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