SMF teacher wins 'Step-It-Up Challenge' in Ohio

Staff Report
Presenting the $2,000 prize check is Katie Peterson, Coordinator of Health Action Council, left, to Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools Superintendent Tom Bratten and Nicole Piland, a fourth grade teacher at Riverview Elementary School. Piland was the winner in the Fall Healthy Kids Step-It-Up Challenge.

Stow-Munroe Falls teacher, Nicole Piland has won the Northeast Region and takes second place overall in Fall Healthy Kids Step-It-Up Challenge, winning $2,000 for the district.

The Step-It-Up Challenge, sponsored by Health Action Council, the Ohio High School Athletic Association and Fitbit, was a free wellness challenge held from Oct. 18 through Oct. 31.

Ninety-one school districts in Ohio participated in the Fall Healthy Kids Step-It-Up Challenge. The overall highest stepper from the OHSAA regions won $2,000 toward health and wellness efforts for their school district.

Piland, a fourth grade teacher at Riverview Elementary School, came out victorious taking the win as the Northeast Regional Stepper and second place overall.

Healthy Kids Campaign sponsors including; Health Action Council, UnitedHealthcare, CVS Pharmacy, OptumRx and Quantum Health funded prizes for the inaugural competition.

“Nicole did such a fantastic job throughout the challenge and truly represented the SMF district well through her activity and it has been fun hearing the support she had from all of the students!” said Katie Peterson, Coordinator of Health Action Council. 

The average daily steps for everyone in the challenge: 19,470 steps while the total steps from everyone in the challenge came in at 21,027,884 steps.

Piland tripled the average daily steps of her competitors to find herself at the top of the charts. She averaged 59,993 steps daily and completed a total of 779,914 steps during the challenge.

“It was a fun and a super tough challenge. I actually ended up doing 120K steps on the last day,” said Piland. “When I'm motivated I push through almost anything.”

Piland is no stranger to putting in the work and has a passion for running as she had shown earlier this year when she completed her own version of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame Marathon by mapping a race that passed by each of her student’s homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. She provided hope, inspiration and joy to her students as she was finally able to see them cheering her on from a distance during such a tough time.

“I just missed them so much,” said Piland, "and this was my way to show them how much I missed them.”  Streets were lined with signs and roads were decorated for Piland's journey, with students cheering her along the way.  

Piland takes her job as a teacher very seriously but her job as a role model even more importantly and it shines through each of her interactions with students.

“This competition could not have asked for a more dedicated or deserving representative than Ms. Piland,"shared Superintendent Tom Bratten, who nominated Piland. “The prize money will be used to enhance our elementary school physical education curriculum and we couldn’t be more excited to put it to good use.”

“We are thrilled with the number of participants in our challenge and their ability to stay moving, healthy and competitive,’ said Patty Starr, President and CEO of Health Action Council. “These healthy fitness warriors maintained a sense of connectivity while social distancing and setting an example for all students to stay active, health and strong.” 

To celebrate 2021, and February Heart Health month, Health Action Council is hosting a 21-day Step-It-Up challenge from Feb. 1-21, 2021 for schools.  A webinar, hosted by Fitbit will be held on Jan. 11, 2021 to talk about the Step-It-Up challenge and also the various opportunities that Fitbit has for schools. 

For any questions about the Step It Up Challenge,  contact David Phillips via email or call 216-236-0364. Members and non-members are welcome to participate in future challenges. Don’t have Fitbit? No worries, there are other ways to track steps per day.