CMU doctoral student named Champion of Health

David Hornak recognized for promoting healthy lifestyles in children
David Hornak
David Hornak, principal of Horizon Elementary School in Holt and a Central Michigan University doctoral student in the educational leadership department, has been recognized by Gov. Rick Snyder for encouraging a community to shape up and get healthy.
Hornak was honored with the Champion of Health award from the Governor’s Fitness Awards for his commitment to creating a healthier school.
The Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports and the Michigan Fitness Foundation host the Governor’s Fitness Awards each year to honor inspiring stories of individuals and organizations throughout the state for their pursuit, dedication and commitment to healthy lifestyles.
Hornak’s promotion of physical activity among students on a daily basis has made a lasting impact on his community, say parents who nominated him.
“Dave has inspired students, families and staff to be more active,” wrote one parent in the nomination letter. “He has provided more opportunities during recess and the school day for students to be involved in fitness and exercise.”
Hornak launched a “Walking School Bus” program and earned a grant to fund improvements to allow kids to walk and bike to school. In 2009, Hornak led an initiative supported by parents and students to fundraise enough money to build a quarter-mile track circling the playground at Horizon Elementary School. Hornak also initiated “Tone-up Tuesdays,” where staff and students are allowed to attend school in workout clothes and exercise together.
“I really do see a positive correlation in the activities we do here with our children,” Hornak said. “Our staff is just as involved. So we’re not just saying ‘go do this’ to the children, but we’re all doing it together. That is making a difference.”
Marilyn Lieber, president and CEO of the Governor’s Council and a CMU alumna, says she is constantly inspired by the time and effort put forward from all the finalists from across Michigan, including Hornak.
“David Hornak is a shining example of one individual making a difference in thousands of kids’ lives,” Lieber said. “The Governor’s Council is proud to recognize the men and women who are role models and advocates for healthy living.”
Hornak says sending a healthy message early is key.
“It sets them up for success,” Hornak said. “We have a captive audience here that happens to be at a point in their lives where their lifestyles are being established. If we can establish wellness as a life goal now, I know we can change lives forever.”

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