Peggy Michaels Stays in SHAPE to Fight MS

Receives Betty Probasco Lifetime Achievement Award Tonight

Monday, February 25, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

Peggy’s impact on those with whom her path has crossed has not been minimized by the crippling disease she fights daily, but quite the opposite! She literally has inspired everyone around her to be the best they can be - both in terms of their physical and character fitness.

  -- Debbie Young, GPS Director of Admissions



GPS physical education director Peggy Michaels has MS – Multiple Sclerosis.

MS could also stand for “Michaels Strong” as the Chattanooga native has battled the degenerative disease for 27 years, yet continues to teach young people the benefits of physical education.

Betty Probasco Award Recipient: Tonight, she will receive the Betty Probasco Lifetime Achievement Award at the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame banquet at the Chattanooga Convention and Trade Center.

Other award winners are Steven Fox (Male Athlete of the Year), Brooke Pancake (Female Athlete of the Year) and Rachel Price (Walt Lauter Award for courage and perseverance) and Brenda Lawson (Fred Gregg Jr. Award for achievements and contributions to the sporting world).

The Betty Probasco Award is given to those who have provided loyal service or significant contributions to athletics or recreational programs in the Greater Chattanooga area.

And Michaels’ contributions to the field of physical education has been duly noted as in 1993 she was recognized by TAHPERD as the Tennessee Secondary School Teacher of the Year, is a member of the Women against MS Hall of Fame and has received the Flavious Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award from Tennessee Tech.

A graduate of Sunnyside Elementary School, Tyner Jr. and Tyner High Schools (lettering in basketball and volleyball all three years) and Tennessee Tech, Michaels created an important p.e. program at GPS, titled SHAPE which has been recognized by the Tennessee Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance as a model fitness/wellness program in the southeast.

Michaels’ program incorporates several aspects of physical education and SHAPE stands for starting habits to attain physical education.

“It is Peggy’s love of sport and her commitment to health, wedded with her faith and love of people, which has changed the lives of those who work alongside of her at GPS, the students who are blessed to call her teacher, the doctors, therapists and rehab professionals who work so faithfully to fight the debilitating effects of her disease with her, and all the men and women she meets in between these activities,” said Debbie Young who worked with Michaels in the formation of the SHAPE program.

With MS, Michaels has had to adapt to different teaching methods and today uses an electric chair walker in her classes.

I am committed to wellness and am so grateful to GPS for allowing me to do what I love,” said Michaels.

“My love of sports and my commitment to the health, fitness, and fun of activity and sports is a “gift” I have been able to share with hundreds of students from kindergarten through high school,” state Michaels.

“Saddled with a crippling disease for over 25 years, I am so grateful to GPS and to my Lord that I still teach and stay physically active in a profession I love in a community that loves me back!  To God be the Glory!”

contact B.B. Branton at


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