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Cougar CrossFit Challenge Builds Health, Community, and Wellness



“I was out running one evening at sunset and I had an epiphany,” said Linda Johnson, our P.E., Health, and A&P teacher. “I knew I had to take the last few weeks of school to encourage students to participate in a challenge involving the outdoors.”

And in those moments, running into the sunset, Cougar CrossFit was born!

The invitation to join in the Cougar CrossFit Challenge initially went out to female students. But the energy was so contagious that 45 people, male and female students, staff, and parents alike, chose to face five weeks of physically demanding challenges with a smile.

– The Marathon Challenge was to run, jog, or walk a total of 26.2 miles in the span of one week.

– The Century-Bike or Stair Climb Challenges required participants to ride 100 miles on their bike or to climb 4000 stairs total during a span of two weeks.

(from left) Sam, Emma, and Blair build their friendship through fun activities like the CrossFit Challenge.

(from left) Sam, Emma, and Blair build their friendship through fun activities like the CrossFit Challenge.


– The Core Challenge involved a series of squats, burpees, jumping jacks, Russian twists, lunges, and more.

– The elevation challenge was to climb a total of 2000 feet of elevation gain in one week or to rock climb 400 vertical feet and hike for a total of 1000 feet elevation gain.

It was not a school requirement nor was any extra credit given. Mrs. Johnson and her husband Kevin, as well as International Director, Mrs. Bibb, used their own money to buy fitness related prizes. But the real motivation was accomplishing difficult goals with people you love.

“I loved doing this with my friends,” said sophomore Emma Maclachlan. “We kept encouraging each other and did a lot of the challenges together,” she said. “We didn’t do this for a grade or even for the prizes. It was just so satisfying.”

Mrs. Johnson wants that message to reach everyone. “It may seem easy for some and difficult for others but my desire is to show people that activity goals don’t require a lot of money or an expensive gym membership,” she says.

Dylan and Derek Irvine woke their mom, Shawna, up at 3am! They made the long hike up Angel's Rest and arrived in time to watch the sunrise on Sabbath morning. A precious memory was made because of the CrossFit Challenge!

Dylan and Derek Irvine woke their mom, Shawna, up at 3am! They made the long hike up Angel’s Rest and arrived in time to watch the sunrise on Sabbath morning. A precious memory was made because of the CrossFit Challenge!


Mrs. Johnson means it! Not only did she complete all the challenges herself (and then some!), she also was a cheerleader. “Linda kept me motivated,” says PAA parent and Administrative Assistant Shawna Irvine. “I had several funny stories to tell her about myself and I was able to laugh at myself with her, too. I would text her in the evening to let her know I had finished and she always seemed happy to hear from me. She would also check in with me at work. I really enjoyed having someone to share my experience with.”

“Exercise can get boring,” admits Johnson. “But I find that getting outside during rain or shine will brighten your mood. You have to look at the big picture and set goals that will improve your quality of life. And you have to make it fun!”

Get outside this summer!

Get outside this summer!


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