Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Chairman Jake Steinfeld will be at Monroe Elementary School, 431 Flora Vista Drive in Santa Barbara, on Thursday to present the Monroe Elementary Parent Teacher Association with a $10,000 check.

The check will be presented in honor of the Monroe Elementary PTA winning a 2009 Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Spotlight Award presented by the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation.

Six years ago, only 6.6 percent of the fifth-grade students at Monroe could pass the California State Physical Fitness exam. Due in large part to the PTA’s support of physical activity and physical education in the past five years, 46.3 percent of Monroe’s fifth-grade students passed the same test last year.

In addition to presenting the check for $10,000, the Council and Anthem Blue Cross of California will be bringing the Live Like a Champion Tour to Monroe — the tour brings interactive games and challenging sports-themed activities to help children bring out their “inner champion.”

With a soaring obesity epidemic and nearly two-thirds of California youth unfit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined some of California’s greatest sports legends in launching the council in 2005. The goal of the council is to get Californians of all ages more active, setting the stage for California to become the nation’s “Fitness State.”

— Barbara Keyani is coordinator of administrative services and communications for the Santa Barbara School Districts.