Frederick High students get taste of fitness industry in career program | Education

Dany Farrar walked up and down rows of Frederick High School students on Friday, his booming voice bouncing off the walls of LifeCycle Fitness Studio as the group struggled through a fourth round of burpees.

“History class isn’t sounding so bad right now, is it?” heyelled.

In one of their final LYNX experiences of the year, about two dozen Frederick students spent the morning learning from Farrar and the owners of LifeCycle about entrepreneurship and careers in the fitness industry. And instead of classwork, they pushed through a set of grueling workouts.

Frederick High’s LYNX program, which stands for Linking Youth to New Experiences, is in its fifth year. Its focus is on taking students off-campus for trips to explore career possibilities in a variety of industries, as well as bringing speakers and mentors into the school.

Many of the students who signed up for Friday’s trip were interested in careers in sports, fitness or the military, said Beth Sands, who works as a LYNX advocate at Frederick High. Students heard from Farrar, a combat veteran and the founder and CEO of Soldierfit in Frederick, plus Emily Harlow and Alyssa MacFawn, co-owners of the spin and weight training studio LifeCycle.

The three of them talked to students about starting a business and the skills required to be a fitness instructor. But they also spoke candidly about broader ideas of perseverance and mental toughness, sharing personal anecdotes from their own teenage years.

Sands hoped the students got more than just career advice out of the experience.

“Our students have struggled a lot — both physically and mentally — during the pandemic,” Sands said. “They’re stepping out of the building and enjoying themselves, taking a break. They’re letting themselves laugh.”

About 1,000 of Frederick’s 1,700 students have taken part in a LYNX experience this year, Sands said. The school has partnered with about 60 businesses and groups around the county.

Harlow, who changed her major three times in college, has worked with LYNX groups for years, chatting with students about what they might want to pursue after high school.

“It’s really interesting to be able to talk to them about careers they may not have even thought about,” she said. “It opens their minds. It’s cool to be a part of that as a small business owner in the county.”

Sophomore Chibi Emejue signed up for Friday’s trip because he hopes to eventually secure a Division I track scholarship, he said. He appreciated the energetic atmosphere of the cycling class and the intensity of Farrar’s training.

Friday was Emejue’s first LYNX trip, but he said he hoped it wasn’t the last.

“I’ll probably be doing more,” he said, “because this is really fun.”


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