BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - A group of teachers on the Coast are competing in a weight loss challenge that could leave them feeling lighter but have their pockets feeling a bit heavier.
Woolmarket Elementary is one of 115 schools across the nation selected to take part in the Healthy Wage Challenge. It’s a three-month challenge in which teams of five compete to win cash prizes ranging from $1,500 up to $10,000.
Woolmarket has two teams, one called the Dwindling Divas and another called Pound Away. Each team meets three days a week with the goal of losing as much weight as they can in hopes of winning that grand prize.
“We coordinated with a company called Healthy Wage’s because we understood that several of our schools were competing in weight lost challenges and we thought, why don’t we just involve ourselves in a national competition that has a large pot of money,” explained Harrison County School District Food Service Director Brad Barlow. “This year, it’s $10,000 so we could possibly have one of our teams in.”
The teams are now a month into the contest and are seeing amazing results so far.
“Working out multiple times a week, get 10,000 steps in. So far I’ve lost 24 pounds since we started,” said teacher Madison Schloemer, who is on the Pound Away team.
The teams’ determination to win through training has many added benefits.
“I feel a lot better. I’m in smaller pants now. My shirts fit better so that’s a nice positive change. I have more confidence now that I think I’m looking better.”
While the team is hoping to win the $10,000 grand prize, the ultimate goal is to get healthier and feel better in their own skin.
“With the new rules, with COVID, our masks and all the other stuff, it kind of weighs you down and it’s hard to stay motivated and positive,” said Woolmarket gifted teacher Stephanie Parker, a Team Pound Away member. “But I’ve noticed through this, I have.”
As the team continues to move closer to their goal, they have noticed a ripple effect happening with their students.
“I think the kids do notice, and I think they appreciate the positive energy between the teachers staying positive, and the students feed off of that,” said Parker.
The teams say they’ve enjoyed the benefits of their training so much that they plan to continue even after the contest is over in two months.
In all, Harrison County School District has nearly 50 educators participating in the Healthy Wage Challenge.
In addition to the $10,000 grand prize, which is awarded to the team that loses the greatest percentage of weight during the contest across all participating school districts, there’s also a $1,500 cash prize for each district’s top team. Additional prizes are also available for the individuals from non-winning teams who meet other goals.
To read more about the Healthy Wages team competitions, visit their website.