MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s not every day a teenager’s workout session has a professional feel, but at North Community High School in Minneapolis it’s part of the routine even when professional athletes aren’t there to push them.
“We were already competitive mentally but now physically we can be even more competitive as well,” said Senior Odell Wilson.
The revamped weight room at the school is all thanks to a $20,000 donation from two organizations that focus on fitness: the Minnesota Vikings and Medtronic.
“This high school has a rich tradition of winning state championships and I would just say I’m hoping that this fitness equipment will help you win the next state championship,” said Luann Pendy, SVP of Global Quality for Medtronic.
The money helped buy equipment including dumbbells, medicine and exercise balls, agility cones, a new sound system in the future and more.
Much of the equipment has been a fixture in the weight room for more than a year, but the donation was made official Monday with the help of several current and former Vikings players like linebacker E.J. Henderson.
“I just marveled when I came here, the open space, the ability the conduct the indoor workout like we just did is amazing. So the kids have every opportunity to grow,” Henderson said.
Henderson and the current Vikings players also led some student athletes through agility drills on the new turf-covered portion of the weight room.
Senior football player Odell Wilson said the new equipment has boosted their performance.
“I don’t feel like we’re left out. We’re more equal with the other high schools, bigger schools,” Wilson said.
T’nia Riley, a senior standout on the track team, says students who aren’t on any teams are also taking advantage of the new weight room.
“You can see how people have improved as far as the way that they’re built,” she said.
The physical improvements, strength and size, are noticeable, but principal Shawn Harris-Berry says she’s also noticing a difference in how students carry themselves.
“I really believe it’s really building the self-esteem of our students because they are being valued and they see people are noticing us, people value what we’re bringing to the table,” Harris-Berry said. “It’s reaffirming for not only myself as a principal but also for our students that we are worthy of having state of the art equipment like other students.”