A.R. Johnson students take part in Marine Corps Fit Challenge
The Augusta Chronicle. Jozsef Papp. October 18, 2019.
The gym at A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School was packed with students running around doing push-ups, pull-ups, planks, bear crawls and more.

It was all part of the students participating in the U.S. Marine Corps Fit Challenge, a program by the Marine Corps to challenge and motivate students to achieve health and fitness goals, teach them about leadership and teamwork. A.R. Johnson was one of three schools – Aquinas High School and Fox Creek the other two – selected to participate in the challenge.

Sgt. Kieran Grow, Marine Corps representative and liaison for A.R. Johnson, said the event is a fun way to interact with students and teach them about the military and leadership.

“When it comes to school, the military is kind of a big unknown for them just because they are not very sure about it. That is why we come in,” Grow said. “A lot of kids, when it comes to leadership, they don’t exactly know what that role really is.”

This is the first year Grow is working with the school as a liaison. He wants to be available for students who may have questions about the Marines or military life in general.

The outreach is mainly focused on juniors and seniors, who are close to leaving school, to see if there is any interest in the military. He said the goal is to have similar events more regularly at the school.

The students were divided into teams and each activity was timed. Grow hopes the event showed kids, who might not be confident in their abilities, that anything is possible if they at least try.

“Time and time again these kids tell me, ‘I can’t do very many pull-ups, I can’t run very fast.’ The biggest thing, it’s about trying,” he said. “These students, once they start to be able to do something they never thought was possible, whether it is a pull-up or being able to run a little bit faster, they start to build themselves up.”

Crystal Langston, a coach at the school, said she hopes the students gain a little confidence from doing the different exercises. She was grateful the Marine Corps chose A.R. Johnson.

“It’s great that they take their time out of their busy schedule, for one, fighting for our freedom,” she said. “Words can’t describe them coming out, taking their time out to just give back to the community.”

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