Support from a community agency carries a lot of weight with South Hopkins Middle School students.
The Cybex equipment that fills the school’s weight room was donated by Hopkins County Family YMCA, which obtained the machines from another YMCA. When YMCA Director Ed Wallace learned the machines may be available, he put in an offer.
“I knew it would be great for the school and for the kids,” Wallace said. “They really couldn’t afford to get it. It was an opportunity to improve our community and better everybody.”
The YMCA obtained the weight machines for $5,000, and offered them to SHMS.
“We’re so appreciative,” said SHMS football coach Chris Manning. “I can’t say thanks enough for how much it has helped us.”
SHMS got its first weight machine four years ago, later adding free weights. The YMCA dona-tion brought 10 additional Cybex machines to the school.
The donation has been “tremendous” in helping reach the goal of having the students be physi-cally fit, Manning said. Perhaps the most valuable machine is the leg press, which has increased students’ power and lower body strength.
“Our goal here is to build long, lean muscles,” he said, “so as they get older, they can build strength.”
Weight training has also helped the football players learn to work together as a team, Manning said.
Others who have contributed include former Athletic Director Stacey Darnall, who got the pads for the floor; teacher Lance Menser, who helps with the after-school program; and Assistant Coach Kevin Mullins.
So far, the weight room has been used in a summer workout program for SHMS athletes. Cur-rently, the football team is using it during their season. After football season ends, it will be available again for other students to use during a workout program that will be offered after school by Mr. Menser and Coach Manning