Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Triton High's HiFive Fills the Halls

Getting serious about fitness in high school

Triton High's HiFive Fills the Halls

I shoot a lot of assignments at schools, and a lot of them are the same kinds of students doing the same kinds of things over and over again every year. So it was exciting to see something new at Triton Regional High School in Runnemede, NJ recently. And even more thrilling to find out a one-time newspaper photographer is responsible.

The HiFive Club is a month-old after-school activity aimed at winning students, including the formerly sedentary, over to a healthier lifestyle.

That's digital photography and computer design teacher Rachelle Omenson demonstrating kick-boxing between the computers (school teams had dibs on the gym and cafeteria, so the club - which meets after school three days a week - was left with a hallway and her classroom).

Omenson is a Cherry Hill East graduate who went to RIT for her degree in photography, then came back and worked at The Courier-Post and Burlington County Times. As newspapers went digital, she got into digital applications, and web design and went on to pursue a masters degree in Art Education at the University of the Arts.

As Inquirer reporter Rita Giordano writes today, Omenson (along with history teacher and Triton alumna Candace Vrooman) noticed their students got winded walking up a flight of stairs.

"I'm 44, and I beat them all up the steps," she told Rita. "Basically, I was a shy, fat kid in high school. I hated gym, and it hated me." But after college Omenson signed up for Jenny Craig and joined a gym. "I thought kids should be able to experience personal fitness sooner than that," she said.

See more pictures here, and Rita's story here.

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

Reach Tom at tgralish@phillynews.com.

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
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