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The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

Steps in the right direction: Faculty Face off in Step Competition

Darren Cameron
Mr. Darren Cameron, Computer Science Teacher, took this picture on one of his many walks to the La Jolla cove to obtain more steps for his team. Going on walks comes with so many benefits; seeing cute seals is one of them!

“I really am not competitive, I’m interested in math, that’s all,” laughed Dr. Zhao, a passionate participant in the step competition among the faculty and staff at Bishops. “Dr. Zhao won the top stepper; he seems to be otherworldly…he just steps a lot,” said Ms. Katerina Lucas, HR director and organizer of this challenge. Mr. Darren Cameron, Computer Science Teacher, added, “Dr. Zhao crushed it. Over 1.2 million steps in seven and a half weeks. Crazy!”

The faculty and staff steps competition was organized last year to manage mental and physical well-being, explained Ms. Lucas. “There was a lot of research that went into it; what should we do, there’s limited funding, so how can we do the most with the little dollars we get?” Ms. Lucas and her team got together and decided to take inspiration from Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, and organized something fun that builds community, is fairly easy for people to do, and gets them moving: a step challenge. 

“We made a call to everyone on campus, saying if you want to participate, let us know, we’ll build teams. We had over 80 people who participated. We built teams of about five, and we were very purposeful about building teams from different departments, people who usually don’t interact with one another, so they get to know one another on campus.” Ms. Lucas explained, “we didn’t put all the coaches in one team because that would not be fair to let’s say the finance department who sits at their desk right. So we wanted to make sure that those who have sedentary jobs and those who move around alot are mixed, and also get to know one another.”

Ms. Marsha Setzer, Associate Director of College Counseling, said, “that was kind of fun just to connect with some people that way, like middle school teachers that I just don’t communicate with.” Dr. Zhao added, “[Our team] went several times together to different parks over the weekend [to walk], it was a really good opportunity [to get to know others better].”

Each team was given the task to make a team name. “They got creative!” Ms. Lucas laughed. The team names were: Steptacular, Can’t Step This Feeling, The Squids, Swifties, Walkie Talkies, and the Lemon Pepper Steppers. 

 As well as an opportunity to get to know fellow staff members better, the teams added motivation. Mr. Cameron explained, “you wanted to do well for your team. Each team had seven or eight people so you wanted to get your steps in for your groups.” Ms. Setzer said, “I think it’s fun to have a little bit of comradery with everyone, that we’re all working towards a collective goal of health, when I had a few minutes in between meetings, [I would] take a loop around campus, or go see if someone wanted to go for a walk.” 

With friendly competition comes strategies, and Mr. Cameron explained how this challenge brought out the competitive side in a lot of people. Dr. Zhao said, “Ordinarily I do a lot of weight training, strength training, and running every other day in general. But now it’s a competition so I run every day before school.” Mr. Cameron felt similarly, and said, “Sometimes I’d walk at lunch, walk with my wife after work, I’d go to the gym.”

A spreadsheet was created for staff to log their steps, and seeing others’ scores and accomplishments was also a big source of motivation for getting steps in. “I really wanted to up my number so I looked at my averages- I average about 16,000 steps a day, for almost 8 weeks. It brought about a little bit of my competitive spirit, like I definitely wanted to get some good numbers, like I think overall I finished about 6th out of 45 or 50 people, so I did pretty well!” Mr. Cameron said. “There are days when you’re tired, but being on a team and having a friendly competition, it was good motivation to get those steps in.” Ms. Setzer added, “at one point I was the most improved on my team, and I was like yes, ok, I’m doing it, I’m getting better! For me there were people on my team that were getting pretty much twice as many steps as I was. I felt that for myself that was a cool thing to aim for.” 

The competition was not only created for some fun competition and to get people connected, but to get people moving in the midst of the busy school year, and this was the perfect way to do so. From taking laps around the quad during breaks, meeting up on weekends for walks, and going to the gym more often, the friendly competition was a “reminder to get up and move,” said Ms. Setzer. “I would just try to do a loop around the quad if I had more than a five minute break in between meetings. First it was just around the quad, and then I would go back around the back side of the math [building], and I kept trying to make the loop bigger around campus.”

Working with a team and getting some extra exercise is just one part of the competition. The other? Prizes! Ms. Lucas explained, “last year, we had a three month long competition. We had first, second and third place [within the teams]; first place won an apple watch, every single one of them, second place got airpods, and third place got $50 coupons to amazon I believe.” This year, when asked what prizes they wanted, Ms. Lucas explained that many staff members said, “well, after all of these steps I will need new sneakers!” “It was fun,” Ms. Lucas laughed. 

As we reach the final days of the competition and the steps are being calculated, it’s exciting to see who will take the win! When asked if they would do it again next year, Ms. Setzer and Mr. Cameron both responded, “Oh yeah!”

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About the Contributor
Melanie Yau
Melanie Yau, Assistant Graphics Editor
Melanie is a sophomore and assistant graphics editor for The Tower! This is her second year on staff, and along with writing, she enjoys drawing, dancing, and playing and listening to music. She will never say no to “boba and shopping,” even if it means studying until 12:00 am and being dead tired the next day. In her free time, she loves going on bike rides with her family, walking her two dogs, and baking with her sister. She is so excited for the upcoming year! 

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