St Mary’s College in Naas crowned Ireland's fittest school

Over 200,000 students have participated

Paul O'Meara

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Paul O'Meara

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paul@leinsterleader.ie

St Mary’s College in Naas crowned Ireland's fittest school

The St Mary's College 5th year physical education class, which was named the overall winner of the competition

A Naas second level school has been adjudged the fittest in Ireland.

St Mary’s College is the overall winner of ‘Ireland’s fittest school’ in the Irish Life health schools’ fitness challenge and was also named ‘Ireland’s fittest girls’ school’ in an awards ceremony held in Dublin on Monday, February 11.

Now in its eighth year, over 200,000 students have participated in the event making it the largest national multi-year surveillance study on the fitness of secondary school children in Ireland.

It focuses on preventive and proactive healthcare and shows that small steps through a six-week fitness programme can make real, impactful changes through increasing fitness levels by an average of 10%. According to Irish Life participation in the fitness challenge drops by over 80% after third-year and the fitness levels among girls decreases dramatically from first to sixth year.

The challenge demonstrates that a six-week fitness programme improves children’s fitness levels by an average of 10%.

Prof Niall Moyna, who oversees the programme at Dublin City University said, “The past seven years of data have enabled us to analyse the trends and of biggest concern is the tremendously large participation drop off after third year.” It’s been shown that nearly 9,000 13-year-olds participated compared with 1,300 17-year olds.

The school has congratulated all of the students who took part.

The St Mary’s College students who participated came from classes across 1st year, 2nd year and 5th year.

While the 5th year group were the overall winner, the 2nd years landed second place and were adjudged the most improved group.

Teacher Eoghan O’Malley paid tribute to colleague Vivienne Garry, who coordinated the efforts of the successful fifth class group.

The students performed shuttle runs as part of a “bleep test” and they also designed a circuit training system which dovetails with the physical education curriculum.

The school has a proud record in sports competition notably volleyball, badminton, athletics and. gaelic football.

It’s hoped that the success will encourage more St. Mary’s college students to pursue PE as an exam subject. The School’s PE department encourages students through high standards and a strong work ethic where students are encouraged to achieve their full potential.