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Shrub Oak School Staff Builds Team Spirit in Spin Class
By DAN PIETRAFESA
Maria R. Bastone
Teachers and administrators from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School in Shrub Oak enjoy their spin class at Club Fit in Jefferson Valley Aug. 23. Brian Donahue, the school’s new principal, arranged the spin class after staff members asked for more team-building activities.

Lauren Narog is open to trying anything, even another spin class.

The pre-K teacher was one of nine staff members from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School in Shrub Oak to participate in a 45-minute spin class at Club Fit in Jefferson Valley Aug. 23.

“I thought it was a lot of fun,’’ Ms. Narog, who is entering her 16th year at the school, told CNY. “Most of us were new at it. We all stuck with it and tried, and hopefully it’s indicative of what we do this year.

“I was definitely surprised this was the activity chosen and a little bit nervous because I never participated in a spin class. I really liked it.’’

The spin class and lunch resulted from the staff’s one-on-one meetings with new principal Brian Donahue, who stepped into the role after the retirement of longtime principal Sister Gabriel Miriam Obraz, S.C.

Donahue, who taught fifth grade at St. Eugene School in Yonkers before becoming principal, said staffers mentioned they were hoping for more team-building activities.

“We had some nice team building (with the class). I think it went over well, and we’re going to do things occasionally as a team. I’m just excited for a good year,” said Donahue, who worked in the health club industry for many years before changing careers.

Spinning, led by an instructor, is a cycling cardio workout with music. It dates to 1991 when South African cyclist Johnny Goldberg and avid cyclist/entrepreneur John Baudhuin teamed up to design the first Spinner bikes for manufacturing, according to spinning.com.

Robyn Mabus, a spin instructor at Club Fit for 10 years, said spinning is for people of all ages, and the workout is easy on one’s joints. She recommends beginners take three 45-minute classes per week. The class starts with a warm-up, followed by the cardio workout and concludes with a cooldown.

“If you really want to lose weight, this is where you lose the most calories because it can be very intense,” Ms. Mabus said.

Valerie Stathis, a fifth- and sixth-grade math teacher starting her 22nd year at the school, laughed and said she was heading home to take some Advil after participating in her first spin class.

“It was something different, creative, and I think it’s a little inkling of what we have in store that we’re going to have a lot of change and a lot of different things going on,’’ she said.

“I expected nothing at all like this (the spin class). It shows how we’re going to be hit with the unexpected with (Donahue), which is nice. People are afraid of change. Change doesn’t mean bad, it can be very positive.

“I think Seton is ready for a change. I think he’s got a great attitude, he’s energetic, and I think parents, students and teachers are going to be happy. I’ve never been this excited to start a school year.’’

The teachers and administrators enjoyed a lunch of sandwich wraps, fruit and salad after the class.

So what’s next for team building? A few ideas mentioned included a cruise on the Hudson River, a Broadway play and a team dinner with spouses during the Christmas holiday season.

“There are so many things we can do. I would do another spin class,’’ said Ms. Narog, who hosted a staff barbecue Aug. 28. “I’m willing to try something once and see how it goes.’’

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