May 16, 2008

Chargers Fund School’s New Workout Facility

National City Students and Staff Have New Opportunity for Fitness

Students and staff at Granger Junior High are celebrating the opening of their new state-of-the-art fitness center. Equipped with rows of cardio machines and weight sets, the exercise room was built with the help of a $40,000 grant from the Chargers Community Foundation.

Defensive End Luis Castillo and A.G. Spanos, Chargers director of Marketing Partnerships and Business Development, were received with exuberant smiles and cheers at the April 16, ribbon cutting.

“It’s our hope that this facility will be a place for each of you to enjoy a healthy lifestyle for now and for years to come,” Spanos said at the inaugural ceremony that included performances by the Granger marching band, Tall Flag Corps and Cheer Team.

Jaime Mercado, Sweetwater school board vice president, praised the Chargers for being “good corporate citizens” and thanked the team for their generosity.

More than one-third of California youth are overweight. Left unchecked, overweight adolescents are at greater risk for developing health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and asthma. School Board president Pearl Quiñones said the workout facility will give the school’s 1100-plus students new opportunities to stay fit.

“Students at Granger Junior High now have a place to engage in physical activity that is so important to long-term good health,” Quiñones said. “They can come for free and workout in a safe, modern facility on campus.”

Dubbed the Chargers Champions fitness center, framed jerseys from Chargers Hall of Fame players and current team stars are hung on the walls and the room is painted in the team colors of blue and gold.

“This is a really nice facility,” Castillo said. “I go back to my own childhood. I didn’t have this in junior high. Hopefully, they’ll take advantage of it and do something positive for their lives.”

Principal Susan Mitchell thanked Middle School coordinator Bobby Bleisch for spearheading Granger’s application for a competitive Chargers Champions grant and working with the team to outfit the new health center. Since 2000, the team’s community foundation has contributed more than $3 million funds school projects that promote physical fitness.

“Our parents will use this facility; our students will use this facility. We believe it is going to change lives,” said principal Susan Mitchell. “Who knows, maybe a future Charger will be working out right here in the Chargers Champion center.”

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