Frenchick reinvents Fitness for Life program


Katrina Hilton

Upper School Physical Education and seventh grade PE teacher Kaitlyn Frenchick separates her seventh grade class into teams to play handball.

From being the fastest fourth grader on her local recreation center track team, to becoming a college varsity runner, Kaitlyn Frenchick knows what it takes to be an athlete. Frenchick has coached the SPA cross country and track and field teams for the last two years. Halfway through last school year, Frenchick stepped in as a long term substitute for Carol King, the Middle School Physical Education teacher. This year, she was hired full time and brought her knowledge and passion for fitness to the  St. Paul Academy and Summit School Fitness for Life program.

For Frenchick, passing down her love and knowledge on fitness is the reason she enjoys her job. “Its fun and entertaining to teach the youth about how to keep themselves healthy, physically and mentally. A lot of kids these days don’t understand that it’s ok to go out and have fun,” Frenchick said.

Under Frenchick’s supervision, the Fitness for Life program has undergone many changes to become more multifaceted. “Fitness for Life is no longer a beginning weight training class, it is now a class where there is a health part for half of it and then for the other half we do some type of physical activity,” Frenchick said.

Frenchick adds a new flavor to the traditional gym class by providing students with physical activity from different sports and activities. “I try to get them moving as much as possible with the games we do, not necessarily just straight up running. We play squirrel tag. It is kind of like a cat and mouse type of game. It’s fun. We’ve done ships across the ocean. My background is in running, but I understand many students enjoy doing other sports,” Frenchick said.

The class now also includes a larger health component, in addition to the physical activity. The beginning of each class begins with a half an hour discussion about health. “The biggest thing I cover is nutrition. We talk a little bit about eating disorders, which loops back to mental health,” Frenchick said. She informs students about health by pulling from what they previously knew and correcting any perceived norms or incorrect information the students have.

Frenchick wants students to put their best effort into every class. “My biggest thing is trying to make them improve. I’m not trying to see who’s the best athlete in the class, I’m trying to see who’s trying to make themselves better and improve on their skills.” For Frenchick, Fitness for Life is not just your average gym class, but a chance to help students become more conscious about their health and well-being.

Fitness for Life teacher Kaitlyn Frenchick jas background in running but “It is fun and entertaining to teach the youth about how to keep themselves healthy, physically and mentally.” Frenchick said.