LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The hard work and dedication of a Prien Lake Elementary P. E. teacher has landed her in the top 5 finalists in a fitness competition for Prevention Magazine.
Paula Bruchhaus entered the nationwide search for America's "Picture of Health" after getting a running club started at Prien Lake Elementary School.
The "Picture of Health" competition looks for an individual who has overcome a major obstacle in their life.
For years Bruchhaus battled obesity, until one day she took on a weight loss competition.
Although she did not win the competition, she did get her health back.
Another thing the "Picture of Health" looks for is an individual who has encouraged others to maintain a healthier lifestyle as well.
After getting her health back, she felt the need to encourage children to become more active.
"In 2004, I decided to start a running program," said Bruchhaus. "Childhood obesity rates are out of control, and I didn't want kids to suffer the way I had."
In the program kids are encouraged to run a certain amount of miles throughout the school year.
"We keep up with our miles in our folders," said Cade Craven, a student at Prien Lake Elementary School.
The students win different prizes for certain amounts of miles they run.
"I'm trying to get more than 100 miles and possible 150," said Noah Berryhill, a student at Prien Lake Elementary School.
Berryhill said the running program is a great thing the school.
"She has changed my life from doing nothing to doing running," said Berryhill.
The winner of the competition is based on votes made by viewers on the Prevention Magazine web site.
People can vote once every day for the candidate of their choice until April 15th.
If Bruchhaus wins she will be featured on the Doctor's show on Fox and be presented $5,000 that will go to her favorite charity.
"Even if I don't win this thing, I think that everything happens for a reason," said Bruchhaus. "I can assure you when my kids leave my P. E. class they always feel happy and confident."
For more information on the competition or if you would like to vote for Paula Bruchhaus, click on "Prevention Link" to the right.