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First Annual Health Bee Pits Clark Against Scotch Plains-Fanwood 7th Graders

Susan Bonnell

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 • 9:51pm

The gym was abuzz with nervous energy and excitement at the First Annual Health Bee that took place on Thursday at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA.  Sponsored by United Healthcare, the Bee pitted Clark and Scotch Plains-Fanwood (SPF) 7th graders against each other in a quiz show format that tested the contestants’ knowledge of health, nutrition, exercise, and pop culture.

Four-member teams representing St. John the Apostle School (Clark), Carl H. Kumpf Middle School (Clark), Terrill Middle School (SPF) and Park Middle School (SPF) squared off in timed rounds.   A large crowd of family members, fans and supporters cheered on the teams as they rang in, made wagers on “Double Bee” questions, and responded within a 5-second time limit.

Preparation began in the schools weeks ago.  Jennifer Feeley, Principal of Carl H. Kumpf Middle School, had her team working in pairs during lunch hour, practicing on the buzzer, and learning the material provided by United Healthcare.  Physical Education and Health Teacher Teresa Lyp of St. John the Apostle said, “We learned about nutrition and exercise all through our winter health curriculum and went to a study session at the Y. We were ready.”

Kumpf and Park were eliminated in the first round, leaving the final round a head-to-head competition between Terrill and St. John’s.  With seconds left, Terrill pulled a “Double Bee” question. Lyp explained, “We were ahead, but they wagered ALL of their points. They’d have won if they got it right, but they answered wrong, and lost everything.  The crowd went crazy!”

Watch a slide show of photos from the competition: 

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St. John the Apostle took first place, winning a $1,000 grand prize.  “We don’t know how we’re going to spend the money yet.  We’ll definitely get the team members gift cards and then hopefully gym equipment or something for health and fitness in the school,” said Lyp.

Runner-up Terrill Middle School was awarded a $500 cash prize.  Matching tie-dyed shirts and socks affixed with bees and a raucous cheering section earned Carl H. Kumpf Middle School the School Spirit Award of $250.00.

The Health Bee was part of the 7th Grade Initiative, a program sponsored by FSPY that is designed to increase the role of nutrition and exercise in students’ lives.  The program features a free one-year membership, guided use of exercise equipment, access to open gym and swim sessions, free and member-priced classes, and other activities geared to middle-schoolers. 

The program is already having a positive effect on the students. Jean Hurst, whose daughter was a Kumpf contestant, explained, “She’s loving this, she’s at the gym as often as I can get her here. She takes nutrition classes and athletic conditioning classes.  It’s great.”

As for St. John’s, the sixth grade is already gearing up to defend their title in next year’s competition.

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