North High Sees Renovation From Local Nonprofit

Community Commitment Brings New Weight Room
Posted on 08/15/2018
Image of North Weight Room Renovation(Jennifer Conn writing for Cleveland.com/Plain Dealer)

Athletic students starting the school year at North High School this month are in for a surprise.

FullyEquipped, an Akron nonprofit, has renovated and expanded the school's weight room, and equipped it with new training equipment and gear. An unveiling of the weight room is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. during North High's open house.

The weight room, FullyEquipped's first big local project, is important because fitness plays a large role in how kids interact in their communities and develop as individuals, said FullyEquipped Director Mark Murphy.

With the help of North High teachers, coaches and students, the FullyEquipped team worked to clean, paint and expand the weight room into what was once an adjoining wrestling area.

Designed for use by all students interested in fitness, the weight room is now equipped with rubber and turf flooring for various exercises. It is outfitted with a rig-and-rack system with six squat and bench stations. Sets of free weights and seven fitness machines targeting different muscle groups were donated by the Canton-based gym, Hall of Fame Fitness Center. For inspiration, the room is now freshly emblazoned with North High's colors -- black and gold.

Athletes and their coaches at North High School worked with FullyEquipped to renovate the weight room for all students interested in fitness.

FullyEquipped supplies athletic equipment, and worked this past spring at North High with Children's Hunger Alliance of Cleveland to feed kids who stay for after-school activities. The nonprofits worked together to provide 1,500 meals for students while Akron's Good Samaritan Hunger Center provided snack bags, granola bars and Gatorade.

The group, which tries to help the schools wherever needed, also distributes personal-care supplies, including towels, shampoo and deodorant. Basic school supplies, such as book bags and pens and pencils, are also available to kids who need them, Murphy said

"We're like a Swiss army knife," Murphy said.

For some Akron students, the supplies from FullyEquipped were essential.

"When we donated book bags to North it was the first time some of them had ever had a book bag to start school," Murphy wrote in an email. "Some of the teams we support also have to pass down cleats as kids graduate so that the next class will have cleats to use."

FullyEquipped was formed just over a year ago after Murphy's mother, Pamela Murphy, noticed some of the schools didn't have much gear for the kids to use at recess. Pamela Murphy is an intervention specialist at Akron Public Schools, and makes the rounds to different middle schools.

The nonprofit is a bit of a family affair.

Murphy's sister, Kara Gooden, a teacher's aide at Hyre Community Learning Center in Ellet, assists with the work of FullyEquipped.

His father, Mark Murphy, has spoken to North High kids as part of a lecture series the nonprofit hosts to expose kids to community leaders. Mark Murphy is a St. Vincent-St. Mary School football coach and an assistant dean of students. He once played professionally for the Green Bay Packers.

With North's weight room complete, FullyEquipped is working to support athletics at Garfield-East High School, supplying snacks, Gatorade, mouth guards, laundry detergent, cleats and other items. At the same time, it is helping integrate the Children's Hunger Alliance food program into the high school.

FullyEquipped also is working with staff at St. Mary Elementary School in Akron to supply lightly used computers and library books for students.

The group accepts donations of school supplies, self-care products, library books and more. To donate or learn more, visit FulyEquipped's website.

Image of North's renovated weight room
Image of North's renovated weight room
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