Riverhead Charter School physical education teacher Robert Cook has been honored with a national “all-star teacher” award from Project Fit America, creators of an innovative fitness education program brought to local schools by Peconic Bay Medical Center.

Cook is one of just 82 physical education teachers to receive this award in Project Fit’s 29-year history, according to a press release issued by Peconic Bay Medical Center. He is one of three teachers to receive the award this year.

Project Fit America trainers who work on site at participating schools nominate teachers they find to be excelling in project development. The nominated teachers are invited to submit their lesson plans, teaching philosophies and a statement of how they are using the PFA program at the end of the school year.

“Robert Cook stands out as head of the class. He has the spirit, energy, dedication, commitment and passion that has earned him the status of National All Star,” PFA said. “He is an outstanding role model for his Project Fit America peer teachers and the physical education profession. We look forward to shining a national spotlight on him through this award and to sharing with all of our PFA schools, across the country, the outstanding PFA Program he has created and continues to progress.”

Peconic Bay Medical Center collaborated with Project Fit America to bring the innovative fitness education program to Long Island. The Riverhead hospital became a sponsor hospital in the program in 2013. It brought Project Fit to five elementary schools in the Riverhead Central School District — the first schools in New York State to receive the PFA grant. PBMC continued to expand the program to other school districts on the East End. To date, PBMC has awarded this grant to nine elementary schools, including Riverhead Charter School.

The PFA program represents the hospital’s commitment to schools, children and their families along with a focus on preventative measures that we can invest to keep our community healthy, PBMC said in a press release.

“Project Fit America is an innovative way we use to serve our community’s youngest members,” PBMC president and CEO Andrew Mitchell said. “To Peconic Bay Medical Center, health care is more than just treating sickness; we want to give our community the tools they need to stay fit and healthy.”

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