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CCA student hopes to turn passion for fitness into career

Jaden Griffin is a junior from Philadelphia who hopes to obtain a physical training certificate on his way to becoming a physical therapist assistant.

CCA prides itself on enabling its students to pursue opportunities for hands on learning. Students are able to choose the curriculum that works for them, and form a skillset that prepares them for their future career. Between CCA’s diverse set of courses and the flexible schedule, students can pursue their passions in and out of their virtual classroom.

Jaden Griffin is an 11th-grader at CCA who lives in Philadelphia. Jaden is interested in physical fitness, and CCA has helped him deepen his interest, and explore his possible career path.

The virtual school allows him to pick classes that he is interested in and he can tailor the curriculum for his needs. CCA also gives him the flexibility to work on his physical training certification. His long-term goal is to enroll in a physical therapist assistant program.

Jaden’s father recently suffered from a torn ACL, and needs rehab to gain strength after his injury. Due to the flexibility of CCA’s schedule, Jaden is able to go with his father to appointments and observe his desired career in a real-world setting.

Jaden’s interest in physical fitness began two years ago when he was attending basketball camp. At camp he was positively encouraged to transform himself and his health. During the experience, he lost a lot of weight and learned how to make healthy changes in his life. Now, he says he wants to pay it forward.

Since Jaden aspires to be a physical therapist assistant, he has found a way to bring his passion into his education. At CCA, Jaden has helped launch the Fit is Lit program at the Center City Philadelphia Family Service Center.

The program was launched last school year with the help of CCA faculty members. Now, once a month at the service center, Jaden helps host a meeting to discuss nutrition, physical fitness and health topics. Jaden teaches workout routines to students who may not have access to a gym.

He instructs students on how to exercise with household items so that they can practice healthy lives – even if they aren’t attending a brick-and-mortar school. He said he improvises with buckets of water for weights or a walker for push-up support. He even said he’s used his brother as a weight.

“The body and mind learn to adapt to personal challenges,” he said.

He’s all about being creative so that cyber students don’t miss out on physical education.

Jeanette Ryder is an English teacher at CCA and works with Jaden to plan Fit is Lit meetings because of her interest in nutrition. Ryder said that she has noticed a change in her students that attend.

Ryder said that students tell her that they are making healthier choices and changing their eating habits after learning about nutrition and physical activity.

“The kids are making healthy decisions that make a difference,” Ryder said.

Most months the Fit is Lit club meetings consists of discussion about nutrition and a workout, but sometimes they organize larger events. In the past, they had an event where students walked 8 miles around the Philadelphia Art Museum. Jaden also has conducted running drills with students in Franklin Square. In the spring, he’s hoping to show students how to use local basketball courts in Philly as a place to workout.

Jaden’s interest in physical health carries over to his personal life as well where he plans his life around training. At home, he trains his father, mother and aunt.

Jaden also has seen how his passion for fitness has affected his school habits at CCA. He said that training has taught him how to be consistent. It also has helped him manage his schoolwork because he has gained training has helped build his confidence.

Through Fit is Lit, he’s passing that knowledge along to his fellow CCA classmates.


Commonwealth Charter Academy


January 24th, 2018



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