Wendover Middle School announces its billboard star
Sixth-grader Morgan Podkul of Wendover Middle School won the “Healthy Habits” essay contest in Hempfield Area School District by describing how dancing keeps her healthy. Excela Health sponsored the contest for participating school districts in Westmoreland County and will feature the winners in a billboard campaign at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
Photo by Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Coming to Hempfield billboards this summer will be Morgan Podkul.
Morgan, who has just completed the sixth grade at Wendover Middle School, is the latest winner to be announced in a campaign sponsored by Excela Health.
Middle-school students were asked to describe their “Healthy Habits” in an essay contest.
The winning authors from participating school districts will be pictured on billboards to be erected at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
It is hoped they will inspire their peers to develop lifelong habits such as eating nutritious foods and getting enough exercise.
Morgan, who has been dancing since first grade, was honored during an awards ceremony at her school on May 30. She is the daughter of Mark and Kelly Podkul.
Her message was particularly touching. In her essay, she wrote:
“Dance keeps me in shape, providing me with cardiovascular exercise, flexibility and muscle strength, which is especially important for me since I have been diagnosed with scoliosis and need to wear a brace 14 hours a day. In addition, dance is also a social activity for me because most of my friends are from dance.
“Dance keeps me active and feeling good about myself,” she concluded.
Many of the winners focused on staying active.
Livia Taormina, 13, a Greensburg Central Catholic student from North Huntingdon described staying in good health through competitive cheerleading.
Sixth-grader Madison Wood of Greensburg Salem Junior High School described the joy of Irish step dancing.
Excela devised the campaign, now in its second round, in an attempt to tackle childhood obesity.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.