Wednesday, September 14 2022

Lakewood High School students get a head start on careers in fitness and medicine through the school’s Athletic Lifestyle Management Academy (ALMA). On Tuesday, the school unveiled the program’s new exercise lab made possible through its partnerships with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and Valor Fitness.

There were cheers and applause on Tuesday as school staff and students cut the ribbon for Lakewood High School’s new exercise lab. This is a project that took months to prepare.

“It’s a game-changer. I mean, it was a dream, but we never imagined it would become this reality,” said Lakewood High School ALMA instructor Erica Miller.

The lab is part of the school’s ALMA. The 4-year program prepares students to take the National Association of Sports Medicine certification exam which, upon successful completion, gives them the tools to gain employment as a personal trainer.

“Without this program, I probably wouldn’t have graduated just because they push me so much. Coach M and Ms Miller push you to some degree because they want you to do better,” Nia said. McCord, ALMA 2022 graduate.

It was students like McCord and his background that inspired Johns Hopkins’ All Children’s Hospital and Valor Fitness to help make their exercise lab a possibility. Valor Fitness donated exercise equipment. Meanwhile, the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Foundation helped support the lab with a $25,000 grant. The grant effort was led by Dr. Patrick Mularoni, who is the medical director of the sports medicine division at the hospital.

“Knowing how excited they are about the program makes it worth it to me,” Dr. Mularoni said. “It’s great to know that we’re helping to advance these young people into careers and that those who want to get into medicine have a leg up on others around them.”

The program is a major benefit for students, whether they are entering the job market directly or continuing their studies.

“They can bring that to college and work at a recreation center on a college campus. They can get a job at a YMCA or open their own gym,” Miller said.

Although the goal may be a career in fitness, it was the compassion shown by her teacher that stuck with McCord and ultimately inspired her to follow a different path.

“It was really Mrs. Miller who made me want to become a teacher. It wasn’t really the health aspect. I just looked at her as a person and as an educator and overcame everything that, I’m really inspired to do what she does,” McCord said.

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