Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 5
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
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“The Definition of Wellness”: PHS Fitness Center Opens

Ellen Gilbert

Noting that it would have been easy to say “change the vending machines” in response to demands for a healthier environment, Princeton Regional Schools (PRS) Superintendent Judy Wilson lauded the opening of the new Princeton High School (PHS) Fitness Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday as the community’s answer to the question, “What does fitness mean?”

Ms. Wilson described the effort that led to the new center as a “model of excellence,” in which agencies, corporations, and private donors collaborated to “make it happen.” The Princeton Education Foundation (PEF), an organization that encourages private philanthropy to enhance public education for students at all levels in Princeton, spearheaded the effort. In her opening comments, Honorary Campaign Chair Lesley Bush, a 1965 graduate of PHS who won the Olympic Gold Medal for platform diving in 1964, noted that “there aren’t many other high schools in the area who have gotten this much help.”

The facility, which Ms. Bush described as “a magnificent fitness center,” boasts 26 new pieces of state-of-the-art exercise equipment in a large, spanking-new room. PRS Athletic Department Director John Miranda reported that it is being used “morning, noon, and night.” In addition to PRS students, district employees may use the room after 6:30 p.m.

Ms. Bush, who has remained in the Princeton area teaching seventh-grade science, emphasized the importance of the facility not only to “great athletes,” but to the ordinary student who wants to make a lifetime commitment to physical fitness. She observed that if a facility like the new center had been available when she was in training as a diver, “Maybe I wouldn’t have a bad back and neck today.”

Dr. Tracey Orleans and Mr. John Govea of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation were among the PEF members, contributors, administrators, athletes, teachers, and students in attendance at the Friday night celebration. Of the $93,000 raised so far by PEF, the Foundation donated $25,000 for staff training and low-cost after-school programs to be held in the new center.

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