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Buffalo Ridge P.E. teacher’s healthy passion is contagious

Ronda Gutierrez, physical education teacher at BRE (back row; right side) stands with staff and students from BRE and Broncos player, David Bruton Jr., earlier this year at a Broncos game.  BRE was honored with the Touch Down award for Fuel Up to Play 60.

By Elean Gersack; photo courtesy of Jen Murdock and Ronda Gutierrez

Health and wellness is a way of life for Buffalo Ridge Elementary school’s physical education (P.E.) teacher, Ronda Gutierrez.  Throughout her many years at the school, Gutierrez has implemented several programs to get kids and staff motivated to move, eat right and chart a healthy life course – and has impacted many lives along the way.

“From the moment that my students enter the door to the gym, you will see smiles and hear laughter and engagement.  I care about my students in and out of the classroom and it shows,” said Gutierrez.

The many facets of Gutierrez’s wellness work include Fuel Up to Play 60, a program sponsored by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League to inspire youth to play 60 minutes each day and eat healthy meals; yoga, boot camp and walk/run programs for the school’s staff; school-wide participation of Jump Rope for Heart for the past 25 years; school and district fun runs; school health fairs; and healthy nutrition programs while partnering with Chef Danny Flanagan from Sanctuary.

In the Fall, Gutierrez and her Fuel Up to Play 60 fourth graders were awarded a Touch Down award from Fuel Up to Play 60 for implementing nutrition and activity “plays” that promote healthy living.  The honor was awarded during a Broncos game that had many schools in attendance.  “I felt very honored to receive this award because I feel it represents living a healthy, active lifestyle, which I strive to teach in my class on a daily basis,” said Gutierrez.

Her zest for a healthy life is definitely catching.  “Ronda’s love and enthusiasm for health and wellness is as big as the smile she has on her face.  Ronda’s positive attitude and caring disposition are contagious when you see her.  She has gone to great lengths to help teachers and students obtain the knowledge to live a more stress-free and healthy life,” said Jen Murdock, assistant principal intern at Buffalo Ridge.

“My goal as a physical education teacher is to empower students with the skills, knowledge, habits, confidence, and desire to be physically active and make healthy choices.  These life skills are evident not only in my classroom but on the playground, cafeteria, classroom, and in their everyday lives,” said Gutierrez.  

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