Within a couple of months, Judith Nyman Secondary School in Brampton went from having old fitness equipment that was on its last legs to brand new state-of-the-art workout facilities — all thanks to a teacher who advocated for an upgrade.
"Honestly, I was really happy," said Shaqheim Carty, a Grade 11 student at the school.
"Before when we used to have all the old weights, there wasn't much for me to do. But then when I saw the new stuff I thought it would be great to help with my future career in boxing."
The new cardio and weight rooms were ready on Monday and students have already been asking if they can visit after school hours.
The dream became a reality simply because one teacher asked for help.
"We realized we had a situation where if we didn't have a remedy within the next five years we start to look at not having access to any weight training equipment because it was getting older and red flagged with safety concerns," said Greg Wright, the school's head of physical and health education.
"Replacing them gets to be a bit tricky when you're looking at $10,000 just for one piece."
After doing some research on where he could get some assistance modernizing the facilities, he reached out to GoodLife Fitness last year.
He outlined what the school's needs were and why the students were deserving. After a few months of communication and a visit from GoodLife's team, it started to come to fruition.
"We gave them our number one wildest dream scenario — they didn't even blink," he said.
The GoodLife team transformed an old gym room and a weightlifting room with rundown equipment into a modern cardio room and a state-of-the-art weight-training room.
The kids were also given t-shirts, hats, bags and water bottles.
"They exceeded our dreams," Wright said.
'Everyone rallied,' says school principal
Robert Lompart, principal of the school, said the Peel District School Board got to work right away updating the infrastructure to support the makeover.
"Everyone rallied," he said.
"The electrical team, maintenance team, the painters all came in and said, 'What can we do to expedite this?'"
Lompart said the process of converting the rooms took about two months.
"Many of our students are used to being marginalized," he said "And now they're sitting here so excited to have the best fitness and weight room in the board."
GoodLife Fitness grateful to share joys of physical activity
In a statement, Jane Riddell, president and COO of GoodLife Fitness, said she hopes the new equipment sparks the students' passion for health and physical activity.
"When we learned about the challenges facing the student population at Judith Nyman, we were grateful for an opportunity to make this donation and share the joys of physical activity with them," the statement reads.
"We're especially appreciative of the hard work of our club services team who installed the new equipment, and to the school staff who advocated on the students' behalf."
Jaheim Carty, Shaqheim's twin brother, welcomes the new equipment.
"Looks like I won't be lazy anymore," he joked.
"It makes me feel really special because now that we have all this neat stuff. It makes me excited because I get to stay more fit."