With over 23,500 Texans from 330 communities participating in this year’s “It’s Time Texas” Community Challenge, Prosper achieved first place in the small community category for the second year running.

The ITT Community Challenge is a statewide competition that challenges communities to engage in healthy living activities. Points are earned by submitting photos and videos that represent various healthy choices by citizens, students, local business and faith-based representatives and city staff. The winner of each category receives an $1,800 grant to be used toward a future health initiative, as well as a trophy and other memorabilia.

Mayor Ray Smith explained why he believes the city of Prosper has become so involved with the challenge.

“I am very proud of our residents,” Smith said. “Health is a big deal. Whether you inherited bad genes like myself with my stroke, heart attack, and open heart surgery or you just want to be healthy, it’s a big deal. It also helps that the town of Prosper likes to win. We expanded on a few things from last year and our new residents really stepped up and took lots of selfies and got involved. Our staff also got involved and participated with videos and pictures as well. Dr. Watkins and the ISD got really involved also.”

Prosper ISD achieved third place in the extra small ISD category adding to the list of Prosper’s accomplishments. Prosper ISD Superintendent Drew Watkins expanded on the ISD’s involvement in an email.

“The ITT Community Challenge is another good example of the ISD partnering with the town for a great cause,” Watkins said. “Promoting a healthy lifestyle for all is certainly a worthy cause to celebrate. Moreover, we are proud that our combined efforts resulted in the town of Prosper retaining its title as the healthiest small town in Texas!”

In order to get the individual schools involved in the challenge, Prosper ISD took part in a 21-day challenge in which the schools competed against one another to see who could make the most healthy choices. Light Farms Elementary was the winner of the 21-day challenge and was awarded a $500 check by Kroger to be used during student appreciation week.

“I appreciate that the 21-day challenge is geared for our students and the home-school connection that is made,” Light Farms Principal Daphne Morris said. “The challenge empowers students to set a goal and remain committed until it’s accomplished. A challenge of this nature builds pride in a job well done.”

Cities across Texas have competed for the number one spot in their category since January 9. Smith discussed the friendly competition that occurred between the city of Prosper and the city of Lancaster in the small city category.

“There was a big effort from Lancaster and trophy club,” explained Smith. “The mayor of Lancaster and I made a friendly wager. The loser of the challenge would have to wear the other city’s t-shirt to their council meeting. So the other day he called me and said, ‘You won, I wear a medium men’s shirt’.”

It’s clear that the ITT Community Challenge was successful in not only building healthy lifestyle choices and community amongst Prosper residents but also between other Texas communities statewide. The challenge’s goal to build lasting healthy habits is one that will benefit everyone who participated for years to come.