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fitness grant - Johns Elementary P.E. teacher with Rowdy
Posted in , on November 1, 2023

Fitness grant will help buy new P.E. equipment

Called to the principal’s office of Johns Elementary School, gym teacher Zachary Jenkins had no idea what was coming next.

Kiddos in trouble? An unhappy parent?

“I was super scared,” said Jenkins.

Nerves quickly turned to shock as he walked in to see Rowdy, the Dallas Cowboys mascot, and a check for a $5,000 grant from the Dallas Cowboys waiting for him. Jenkins was nominated as the first 2023 Funds for Fitness Grant recipient of the season on behalf of the Texas Lottery, the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation and the Dallas Cowboys.

The grant awards innovative educators who are making an impact on student health through physical education, coaching, mental health and character leadership across Texas.

fitness grant - Johns Elementary P.E. teacher with Rowdy“When I walked in I could not contain the emotions,” said Jenkins.

One of the only staff members to know of the surprise was Johns Elementary principal Grecia Lopez, whom Jenkins had asked about fitting cup-stacking equipment into the budget a week prior.

“I knew this was coming, but I had to tell him no, so I’m excited for him,” said Lopez.

Jenkins plans to involve his students and teaching partners in the spending of his new grant. With brand–new equipment – for much more than cup stacking – his students will have the chance to try new things, enjoy coming to school and build lifelong active habits.

“It means a lot,” Jenkins said. “We will be able to afford more equipment and make my program more enjoyable and fun for the kids.”

Shortly after receiving the grant, the announcement was made over the intercom for the entire school.

“I’ve been at this campus for seven years, and this is a first,” said Lopez. “Johns is a hidden gem. It’s nice to bring some publicity to our campus, especially for something so positive like this.”

With high fives from Rowdy and a soon-to-be growing P.E. program, it was a happy Friday for the Johns community.

“I am a huge Cowboys fan,” Jenkins said. “This is life-changing money, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity that they are giving me.”

Learn more about Funds For Fitness.