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The Piedmont Highlander

The Piedmont Highlander

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A Wizillion Bucks

A Wizillion Bucks
Fitness Foundation

The Wizillion: a form of currency uniquely available to “Wiz Kids” – students of Piedmont Middle School (PMS) PE teacher Tim Wisniewski. Given to students after the completion of the “Heavenly 11,” a PMS PE tradition where students run 11 laps around Witter Field, the Wizillion is a symbol of athletic achievement. 

After receiving their Wizillion, Wiz Kids store it safely until the day of their high school graduation. After four years, students finally make their way back to the PMS PE office, where Wisniewski awaits them with a special prize in hand. The prize has been kept a secret for years, with graduated seniors being the only students privy to the contents of the prize

“It’s a lifetime fitness gift that can help you stay in the Wiz-Zone for [life]. Lifetime fitness is one of my goals, and [having kids] understand that fitness can be fun,” Wisniewski said. 

Wisniewski said he began the Wizillion system 15 years ago in an attempt to provide more incentive for students to participate and be active during class. 

“You don’t have to have the fastest [Heavenly 11] time, you just have to give it your best, then you’re going to get a Wizillion bucks,” Wisniewski said. 

PMS eighth grader Gladwin Horsley recently completed the Heavenly 11 and received her Wizillion. She said that the class held a small ceremony where Wisniewski shook the kids’ hands one by one. Horsley appreciates the effort that Wisniewski puts into increasing engagement within the class. 

“I think the way he talks about running — he has “Smile Day” instead of mile day and stuff like that — just makes exercising and PE seem like a fun thing and not like school,” Horsley said.

Wisniewski said he created the Wizillion to empower kids in his class to stay active.

“I’m not here to make you an Olympic athlete. But if you become one, don’t forget about me,” he said. 

Senior Eden Lorin has not forgotten about her Wizillion.

“It’s been taped to my wall for four years,” Lorin said.

Senior Eleanor Lavin has also been keeping hers safely in preparation for graduation.

“[Mine is] in a little box that I keep under my bed so it doesn’t go missing,” Lavin said.

More than four years later, the memories from Wisniewski’s class still remain. Wisniewski’s unique class activities and coined terminology cultivate a special bond with his Wiz Kids.

“I love Mr. Wiz. The Heavenly 11 lives in my brain at all times,” Lorin said. 

Due to COVID, the tradition was temporarily paused. However, within the past couple of years, the number of students exchanging their Wizillion has been steadily increasing, and Wisniewski hopes this year continues that trend. 

“[I’ll] be awaiting your arrival with your [prizes] and smiles,” he said. “And I’m happy to keep this tradition going.” 

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About the Contributor
Elena Stevens
Elena Stevens, ACL Editor
Elena Stevens (12) is an ACL editor at TPH. Outside of school, Elena enjoys playing volleyball, hanging out with friends, and watching TV.
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