Harrison Co student named MS Ambassador for Fuel Up program

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Harrison County student will soon join the front lines in the fight against childhood obesity in our state. She has been chosen to represent Mississippi in a program that was co-founded by the NFL. The new title comes with challenges, responsibilities and rewards.

Kimberly Payne, 12, loves to dance, exercise and motivate. The sixth grader at West Wortham Elementary and Middle School is the new face for Fuel Up To Play 60 in Mississippi.

"I think a lot of people need to get fit and learn about it and get active," said Kimberly.

Coach Aaron Garlotte started the program at West Wortham this year after noticing some students eating junk food.

"I thought it would be best to try to implement a program that would help benefit living a healthy lifestyle, eating right and exercising and that's what Fuel Up for 60 is all about," said Garlotte.

The goal was to get at least 300 students to sign up on the program's website. By doing so, students can track what they eat and their daily activities, learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and earn points for making positive changes.

When Kimberly found out that many students weren't enrolling, she took the ball and ran with it.

"I got the word out by making posters and everybody started signing up. So I felt good about it," said Kimberly.

"Kimberly was excellent. She's a go getter. She gave it 100 percent," said Garlotte.

The school exceeded its goal. Kimberly racked up enough points to earn the title of "School Ambassador" for the Fuel Up program. Earlier this month, she learned that she had been selected to serve as the ambassador for Mississippi.

"I was really excited. I didn't know I would get that," said Kimberly.

"That's just an awesome honor and a little school here in Harrison County, and for one of our students to be the ambassador for the entire state in 2013-14, that is just awesome," said Garlotte. "I'm super excited. I just think it's great to have a student to be nationally recognized."

Kimberly and Garlotte will get an all-expense paid trip to a national training summit at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Texas. They will get to bounce off ideas and bring back new programs to get Mississippi children up and moving.

"I'm real excited to learn what they do for it, and I would bring back good ideas for our school," said Kimberly.

Kimberly and her coach will leave for the training summit in mid-July. Along with the trip, she also received a polo shirt and other prizes.

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