Equipment used by children receiving adaptive physical education at the Ahern Middle School recently got some updating, thanks to help from the Foxboro Commission on Disability.
For a variety of reasons both physical and intellectual, many children cannot participate in a typical gym class. Instead, they have alternative programming for physical education that includes using some stationary gym equipment, but at the Ahern Middle school almost all the exercise equipment they were using was broken.
Matt Noone, a wellness teacher at Ahern Middle School, was searching for money to purchase working equipment and found success when he approached the Foxboro Commission on Disability.
Margaret Chaisson, vice chair of the commission invited Noone to come to a meeting and make a request for funding.
Noone proposed purchasing used equipment refurbished by Mass Movement and Fitness Brokers U.S.A. in Foxboro. The total cost for two elliptical machines, three spin bikes and a cable cross strength machine would be about $5,000.
“After Noone’s presentation, the entire commission of nine members were all eager to help,” said Susan Collins, who chairs the commission.
“Physical education is so important for a student’s health and especially for enjoyment. Also once these students learn how to use this equipment they can go to a gym with their families and continue to live a healthy lifestyle,” said Collins.
The Foxboro Commission on Disability receives revenue from fines paid by drivers who violate accessible parking laws within the town, such as fraudulent use of a handicapped placard or parking in an accessible spot without authorization.
The commission was able to cover the entire proposed cost and all the equipment was successfully installed at the gym of the John J. Ahern Middle School.
Julia Shiebler, a special education teacher, said 10 students from the special education program are currently using the new equipment during the last period of the day.
“They can get that sensory input of weight lifting, moving on the bike, the elliptical, getting that input that they need to be able to be accessible to the academics that are being presented to the classrooms,” he said.
Seventh-grader Lillianna Langworthy, 13, said she likes the machines because she can get stronger.
“It helps me to study because I like to study and I like to study how muscles work,” said Langworthy, who dreams to be a scientist one day.
Seventh-grader Learra Cappellano, 12, said she likes using these machines because she wants to be strong.
Noone thanked the commission for their help with the equipment.
“Our budget is not great. We can sometimes fix equipment or buy basic things like a new soccer ball or basketball, but something like refurbishing the exercise room would take the whole budget of this year and next year,” he said, adding, “I love the new equipment. Students have been in here every day. Kids can come in and work out and get great exercise.”