Washougal, WA – Hathaway Elementary staff members have embarked on a friendly competition that participants hope they will lose at.  Lose weight, that is.

The Hathaway Biggest Loser Challenge was developed by the school’s Sunshine Committee that creates fun activities for staff morale.  Leslie DeShazer, Hathaway Developmental Preschool teacher, has helped to organize the challenge and has recruited more than 25 teachers and staff to take part.

“It’s all about taking steps to be healthier and demonstrating healthy behaviors to our students,” said DeShazer.  “And it is so much more fun and motivating to do this a part of a group. And this group is pretty competitive!”

“I really enjoy the camaraderie of working on the challenge as a work group,” said Lori Webb, Hathaway fourth grade teacher.  “At lunch time we get to see what healthy meals everyone brings in.  We also share recipes.”

“And no one is bringing in tempting items into the lunch room to take us off course,” pointed out Andy Schlaugh, Hathaway fifth grade teacher.

Participants are measuring progress by a reduction in the percentage of body weight, not pounds. The challenge began with complimentary Inbody Scans from Anytime Fitness Washougal the week of February 12.  In addition, Anytime Fitness provided all teachers with a free 21- day trial membership and five weeks of up to two group training sessions.

“We are so excited to be a part of Hathaway’s Biggest Loser challenge,” said Paul Billings, owner of Anytime Fitness Washougal.  “We are passionate about health and wellness…and we also love friendly competitions. What excites me the most about Hathaway’s weight loss challenge is it sets good examples for the children they teach. My mother was a teacher and I respect those in the field. What a great blessing teachers are to our children.”

“We are amazed at the outpouring of support we have gotten from our students, parents and business community,” DeShazer said.  “The community is behind us.  They have given us a lot of positive feedback and have been donating a lot of cool prizes.”

Prizes for challenge participants have a healthy theme.  The Biggest Loser winner will get a complimentary 12-month membership to Anytime Fitness Washougal.  Other donations have been received by Pure Wellness, Camas Family Health, Sweetwater SUP Rentals, Secret Skin Care, Discovery Dental, Vancouver Parks and Recreation, $150 cash prize and more!

Now after three weeks, participants are seeing BMI reductions and the group has dropped 156 pounds in total!

The challenge ends Friday, March 29 right before Washougal spring break. Winners will be announced, and prizes given at an all school assembly that will include some active fun for students to participate in.

“The students know about the challenge and are watching us engage in healthy behaviors and working on healthy habits,” explained Javier Appelgren, Hathaway PE instructor.  “They also help to keep us all accountable.”

Hathaway fourth grade teacher, Philicia Weaver, said her class is actively engaged in her progress.  “My students love to check on whether or not I am drinking all of my water,” she said.  If fact, students and families gave Weaver healthy gifts for Valentine’s Day and the class party featured fresh fruit rather than chocolates.

“It is important that we use this challenge to demonstrate to students how to be healthy and stay active,” said DeShazer.