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“Biggest Losers” Are Biggest Winners In Hart District

            Weight loss contest  is big success.

            The William S. Hart Union High School District is more than a ton and a half lighter this month, following a 12-week Big Loser District Challenge organized by district nurse Alison Schmidt.


            Schmidt came up with the idea just before the winter holidays and sent a district-wide challenge, expecting 40 or 50 people to join a weight loss competition. The program drew a total of 260 employees, who contributed $20 each to the prize fund and divided up into 10-member teams for the challenge.

            Rio Norte Junior High School’s Team Aqua came in at the top, losing a total of 269 pounds—12.37 percent of the team’s starting weight. As the district’s “Big Loser,” the team received a $2500 cash prize to be divided among its members and $2500 which will go to the winning team’s school.

            An additional cash prize went to Les Hershberger, a counselor at Arroyo Seco Junior High School. He lost more than 24 percent of his starting body weight to claim the top award.   

            “The concept was to encourage teachers and staff participants to lose weight, reduce health risk behaviors, lower stress and improve moral,” Schmidt explained. “Teams engaged in all kinds of healthy behaviors such as walking at lunch, eating better and supporting each other in the process. The team element really seemed to make a difference.”

            As a result of the challenge, Hart District employees lost a whopping 3275.5 pounds, a 12.37 percent overall reduction in weight from the starting weigh-in. Team members weighed in each Monday morning, keeping them accountable both to themselves and to their other team members. Schmidt provided biweekly team status reports to keep interest high.

            Runners up in the individual weight loss competition included Kullen Welch, Rio Norte Junior High; Suzanne Neshek, Sierra Vista Junior High; Dorothy Belli, Canyon High School; Chris Rippe, La Mesa Junior High; Joanne Carpenter, District Office; Connie Kautiainen, Rio Norte; Lisa Henry, Sierra Vista; Donna Kennedy, Golden Valley High School; Vincent Wheeler, Golden Valley; Janice Holt, Saugus High School; Sandy Maxson, La Mesa; and Lee Gately, Rancho Pico Junior High.


            The runners-up received prizes donated by sponsors Signature Fundraising, 24 Hours Fitness, Agel Vitamins, Kathy Watterson of REMAX, Mimi’s Café, Applebee’s, Islands, Trader Joe’s, Greenhouse Café, Best Buy, Nail Palace and Rattlers.

            Runners-up in the team competition were Rio Norte Team Aqua, Sierra Vista Team Silver, La Mesa Teams Periwinkle and Gold, Golden Valley Team Yellow, Canyon Team Lavender, Rancho Pico Team Beige, Sierra Vista Team Bronze, District Office Team Navy Blue, Placerita Team Gray and Rio Norte Team Fushia.

            Schmidt already is making plans for another series of Big Loser challenges to keep employees on track for a healthier lifestyle in the coming school year. A six-week challenge is planned after Labor Day, to help participants get in shape before the traditional holiday weight-gaining period. Another 12-week challenge is planned to start next January.

            “Hopefully our participants are now feeling a little more control and know what they have to do to keep that control,” Schmidt concluded. “They look and feel marvelous, and people are noticing it and their newfound positive attitude.”

“Biggest Losers” Are Biggest Winners In Hart District

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