Donor provides Baptist Health Paducah grants for Project Fit America fitness programs in three Graves County schools

November 02, 2017

In its 10th year of providing Project Fit America to help elementary students in the fight against childhood obesity, Baptist Health will celebrate the launch of three new fitness programs Nov. 20 in Graves County's Symsonia, Lowes and Wingo elementary schools.

In its 10th year of providing Project Fit America to help elementary students in the fight against childhood obesity, Baptist Health will celebrate the launch of three new fitness programs Nov. 20 in Graves County’s Symsonia, Lowes and Wingo elementary schools.

The schools have received indoor and outdoor fitness equipment, teacher training and curriculum materials. Funding of the three grants was provided by a Baptist Health donor for outreach during the “Celebrating Miracles, Transforming Lives” capital campaign.

Principals from the three schools said the program will help their students and communities.

“The more active students are, the better the test scores, fewer school days missed and less discipline problems,” said Symsonia principal Alison Gregory.

Lowes principal Ryan Marchetti said the grant is a win for the entire Lowes community, noting the program will be in use for students during and after school and on weekends for families.  “Our school is the engine of our community,” he said. “We are not only a school, but also we are the local playground and the community center.”

Wingo principal Scott Bradley said the impact will be profound. “Hopefully this starts a domino effect in our school and our community with healthier students bringing positive energy, which fuels the teachers and radiates through the community. We hope to thrive like never before!” 

Chris Roty, Baptist Health Paducah interim president, said Project Fit America exemplifies the hospital’s focus on health, especially in today’s culture when obesity and its related conditions, such as diabetes, are among the area’s greatest health risks. 

“Baptist Health is pleased to expand this fitness program into three new school communities of children, staff and families to build good lifelong habits for healthy lifestyles,” he said. “We are especially thankful this year for the grant to be provided by one of our donors, who wishes to remain anonymous, but who obviously loves children and supports our mission of good health.”

The three schools bring to 15 the total number of schools receiving the Baptist Health fitness grants over the last decade. Paducah’s McNabb Elementary and Graves County’s Central Elementary were awarded the program in 2007; Lone Oak Elementary, 2009; Concord Elementary, 2011; Clark Elementary, 2012; Benton Elementary, 2013; Calvert City Elementary and East Calloway Elementary, 2014; Morgan Elementary, Heath Elementary and Reidland Intermediate, 2015; and Hendron-Lone Oak Elementary, 2016. 

Baptist Health Paducah is a regional medical and referral center, serving about 200,000 patients a year from four states. With more than 1,700 employees and 240 physicians, it offers a full range of services, including cardiac and cancer care, diagnostic imaging, women’s and children’s services, surgery, emergency treatment, rehabilitation and more. It opened in 1953 as Western Baptist Hospital and recently changed its name, along with other facilities in Baptist Health, one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare systems in Kentucky. For information, see

Project Fit America (PFA) PFA is a national nonprofit organization that creates sustainable and innovative broad based fitness programs in schools. PFA programming includes state-of-the-art outdoor fitness equipment specifically designed to address the deficit areas where children fail fitness tests; indoor fitness equipment; a dynamic curriculum with games, activities and challenges; on-site teacher training and in-class instruction on subjects such as smoking intervention, nutrition and understanding your body. PFA is in its 28th year of working with schools in more than 1,100 schools in over 300 cities in 46 states. Schools report increased motivation, participation and physical improvements in their students, along with parents and faculty becoming more involved in choosing fitness activities over sedentary lifestyle habits. For more information, visit