The Heights

Grahamwood Elementary PE teacher honored by Shelby County Mayor for keeping kids moving

Congratulations to Grahamwood Elementary PE teacher Andy Martin! Martin is being recognized by Shelby County government and school officials for his innovative approach to keeping his students healthy.  

Beyond the typical gym activities, Martin has created running, yoga, and skate clubs for his students to join. 

Grahamwood is located in The Heights, one of High Ground's On the Ground focus neighborhoods, and youth health and safety are important priorities among stakeholders who've spoken with our team.

It's also a top priority for Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris. 

Harris is visiting Grahamwood today along with Shelby County Schools Superintendent Joris Ray and Shelby County Commissioner Michael Whaley. Grahamwood is just inside the western edge of Whaley's district. 

Harris will recognize Martin for his achievements and all three officials will join in the fun with Martin and the students of yoga club. 

The visit is part of Harris' healthyShelby’20 campaign. The campaign is focused on the prevention of childhood diabetes. 

Physical activity helps the body use insulin more efficiently and lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Being active improves heart, bone, mental, and muscle health. 

“Our goal is to create a culture of health in Shelby County. We have to raise awareness around healthy eating, physical fitness, and mental health is key to a healthier Shelby County for all," said Harris in a press release. "We are excited to honor Coach Andy Martin, someone leading the way on awareness and prevention of childhood diabetes."

Whaley and Ray echoed Harris' sentiments and praised Martin's creativity and devotion to his profession and kids.

“Our mission is to serve the whole child and physical education plays a key role in strengthening motor and social skills, as well as improving physical and mental health," said Ray. "We are so grateful to join Mayor Harris in recognizing Coach Martin’s years of service and dedication to students.”

For his part, Martin said his job is important but also a personal joy. 

“In this culture of streaming television and video games, it’s more important than ever to keep our students active," said Martin. " ... it brings me great joy to see the children grow a love of exercise and being outdoors.”

The healthyShelby’20 campaign continues April 25 with the Walk with the Mayor event at The Heights of Spring celebration. That event will also be located in The Heights. Residents and guests will get a chance to walk with Mayor Harris and his co-host, Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer, along the path of the proposed Heights Line bike and pedestrian greenway.

Related: "Video: The Heights rides to improve public space (en Español)"

Heights CDC recently kicked off a fundraising campaign to turn a stretch of National Street into a trail running north-south that connects Wolf River Greenway to the Shelby Farms Greenline. 

On May 12, healthyShelby’20 will host a Ride with the Mayor community bike event and on October 17 they'll hold the healthyShelby’20 5K.

Read more articles by Cole Bradley.

Cole Bradley is a native Memphian and graduate of the University of Memphis. Cole's worked locally as a researcher and community engagement strategist and began contributing to High Ground in Jan 2017. 
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