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Newton County Theme School at Ficquett is one of only 21 schools in the state to receive a grant from the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Governor’s SHAPE Initiative to fight childhood obesity and improve nutrition. The school received $3,000 to develop physical activity and nutrition plans to aid in the fight against obesity.

“This grant will build a School Wellness Council to initiate the Center for Disease Control’s School Health Index modules on physical activity and nutrition,” said Steven Joyce, physical education teacher at Newton County Theme School at Ficquett. “The physical education teachers, lunchroom manager, and classroom teachers will be the main developers of the physical education and nutrition improvement plans. The other team members will include Newton County Theme School administration, the school counselor, and parents.”

Research has shown that children are much more physically active if they attend schools that schedule, promote and supervise opportunities such as structured recess, short classroom-based activity breaks and before and after-school activities. Georgia currently ranks third in the nation for overweight and obese children.

“These grants will go a long way toward improving childhood fitness and nutrition,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner, Georgia Department of Public Health.  “We must teach our children the importance of physical activity and the lifelong benefits of healthy eating, lessons they hopefully will carry with them throughout their lives.”

“It is a true blessing to receive this grant from the Georgia SHAPE Initiative,” said Joyce. “This grant will improve the overall health and physical activity of the students, staff, and parents at the Theme School.”

For more information, contact Ms. Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of public relations for Newton County Schools at