STUDENTS from Bega High School are learning boxing skills as part of a healthy lifestyle program.
The children head into the school hall once the first bell rings, then as pumping music is played they practise their technique, alternately punching and blocking in pairs.
After the exercise they have breakfast together, cooked by students from the SRC.
Boxing for Fitness is a school-owned program facilitated by NSW Police, and students learn the Police Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYC) style.
“It’s for our kids and its run by our community,” Senior Constable with Youth Command/PCYC John Smith said.
He said it teaches the kids techniques, discipline and they learn to follow instructions.
Youth mentor Jasmin Newman is a personal trainer who helps with the classes, and said the exercise helps improve students' capacity for learning.
“It’s important for us - as far as education is concerned - to send them off to class with an engaged brain,” Ms Newman said.
“It’s all about brain engagement for youth.”
Students from across the school take part in boxing, and Senior Constable Smith said during breakfast they sit with students from other classes and build rapport.
Teacher Seanine Cooper said Boxing for Fitness has had a positive impact on her students.
“I’ve made an observation in the reduction of negative youth behaviour in the community,” she said.
“Before this there were a lot of things going on.
“I think the connection with the police is really helping.”
Ms Cooper has also observed students being less aggressive towards each other during school.
Boxing for Fitness takes up the first period on Monday or Thursday and is open for students from Years 7 to 10.
It has proved to be very popular, with a full class of about 20 students on Monday.
Student PCYC member Sarah Halin said part of the program is to improve school attendance.
In the first class Senior Constable Smith made it clear if any of the kids had problems with their attendance they would be removed from boxing.
“We are hoping it will get kids and keep them in class,” Sarah said.
There is also a social aspect involved in the boxing classes, as she said kids from different years who take part in the classes now say hello to each other at school.
Student Jake Piecey is a regular attendant of Boxing for Fitness, who loves his sport and the classes.
“It’s just so good, it keeps you fit,” he said.
“It’s really fun.”