Bell and Harlan County are the only other school districts in Kentucky to get the grant in 2008.
In order to obtain the grant, Davis had to exhibit need within the district, provide a detailed program design and develop a plan for tracking student progress.
Davis showed the need by presenting the increasing body mass index among incoming freshmen over the past several years.
Davis said the lack of physical fitness among younger kids began to concern him when he spent a year in elementary schools after he first arrived in Mercer County.
"One of the reasons I wanted to apply for this was being at the elementary school and seeing the lack of physical education," he said. "They were on a six-day cycle, so they would sometimes have an entire week without it."
Exercise through play
Davis said much of the remaining money for this fiscal year will go to implementing a SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation) curriculum in the elementary and middle schools.
"We have to increase the MVPA (moderate to vigorous physical activity) and SPARK gets kids active through games," he said. "It is a great way to get kids exercising through play."
Some of the first Mercer County Senior High P.E. students to benefit from the Nautilus equipment are being enlisted to help Davis get SPARK started at the primary level.
Davis hopes his sports leadership class will be a part of spreading knowledge and making fitness more a part of the culture in Mercer County.
"I think having those older kids there will make an impression. They will be taking a leadership role and helping to build a foundation for the younger kids. These are going to help demonstrate things for SPARK, and they will also help with testing."
The results of the program are being tracked by regular fitness testing in P.E. classes, as well as an accounting of all the physical activity both in and outside school.
Despite the ratcheting up of efforts, when students reach the ninth grade, they are required to take only one health and P.E. course.
This makes increasing fitness difficult to mandate and to track.
Davis said he hopes to start reaching out to some of the more reluctant students by making it clear that staying fit is not simply for sports and looking good.
"Fitness is not just for athletes," he said. "We want all our kids to be more active and doing things that will make themselves more healthy. A lot of this program is helping them see that this is about life-long health."