CLAYTON — For the past 17 years Jazzercise instructor Cheryl Heffner has served the ladies of the Northmont community from her fitness stage located within the community center gymnasium of Happy Corner Church of the Brethren. Sadly, Heffner will be ending classes this Thursday at 6 p.m. due to a knee injury.
Cheryl became a certified and licensed Jazzercise instructor in 1999. Over the years her daughter Marie Breitenbach also became an instructor. This allowed the pair to deliver Jazzercise classes morning and evenings up to three times per day at the church to an average of 30 to 40 women per class. Attendees range in age from 18 to 81.
“I am a health, wellness and fitness person,” said Heffner. “Throughout the years it’s all about me helping the students.”
That was made very clear when speaking with members of her class.
For Kathy Lukens, Jazzercise has “been like therapy health-wise.” She has been faithfully attending classes for 10 years since her husband died.
“Cheryl and Marie are just so dedicated,” said Lukens.
Longtime student Doreen Williams agrees. “I leave work early to get here!”
Jean Burke and Dolores Jones are described by Breitenbach as some of their most dedicated Jazzercise students.
Burke stated, “I am 100 pounds thinner and kept it off! It changed my whole life.”
Jones saw the Jazzercise sign in the church yard and thought she would try it.
“When I came the first time I was treated so well by the instructor Cheryl and the students that I continued to come back.”
And so she has done for 17 years.
Jazzercise classes employ a variety of dance mix of high and low impact, strength and interval fusion all set to the beat of current uplifting music. Lisa Fletcher, Director of Church administration stated, “Our Community Center gym was the perfect place for this activity. We value the many years Cheryl and her students have graced our facility.”
Even though both instructors and students are sad about the abrupt end of their Jazzercise classes Heffner emphasizes, “Continue to exercise! Any form of exercise is so important at any age.”
Knowing her longtime students, they will. But perhaps Lukens summed up the class’s sentiment best, “This feels like family. I am going to miss it.”