Fayette County schools have received a 2016 Community Leadership Award from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. This honor goes to individuals or organizations that improve the lives of others within their community by providing or enhancing opportunities to engage in sports, physical activities, fitness and nutrition-related programs.

Beaumont Middle School Principal Kate McAnelly, who nominated the district, cited the district’s growing participation in World Fit, an initiative founded by U.S. Olympians that inspires students to be more active. Principals and teachers adjust schedules to accommodate walking during the school day because they realize the potential benefits for students, including fresh air and reduced disciplinary referrals. Some schools promote walking time year-round.

“It is has been exceptionally well-organized and has grown to the point where it is a tradition and part of the annual curriculum,” McAnelly said.

Beaumont and Winburn Middle School were among World Fit’s pilot sites in 2010, and the program has since expanded to nine middle schools. A web-based tracking system tallies their total miles and average miles per student per day. Fayette County schools routinely earn recognition for their efforts, including four national titles to date.

This year, in honor of its 60th anniversary, the President’s Council presented the Community Leadership Award to 60 recipients across the country.

The President’s Council is composed of up to 25 volunteer citizens – including athletes, chefs, physicians, fitness and nutrition professionals and physical educators – who are appointed by the president and serve in an advisory capacity through the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services. The group is co-chaired by NFL quarterback Drew Brees and Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes.