Steve Kurcis, the Arlington high school principal with multiple sclerosis who left his job in April after advising his students to fight the setbacks of life as he intended to do, said last week he is working hard at a new job and at minimizing the effects of the chronic disease.

Kurcis, who was principal at Yorktown High School for seven years, gave up the position because he said it had become too painful for him to move around. He took an administrative position as director of instruction in the central school office.

Before he left Yorktown, Kurcis distributed a letter to students about his decision. It read, in part, "There are two kinds of handicapped people -- the kind you feel sorry for and the kind you admire. I intend to be the latter kind, and I hope that when you experience setbacks in life you will face them head-on and fight as I intend to do."

Kurcis said he is fighting these days with a diet -- he has lost 10 pounds -- and with a morning weight-lifting routine.

"The endurance is a lot better because I don't have to walk as much," he said. He said he gets to the office at about 7:30 a.m. each day and does not leave until 4:30 p.m. Since he began his new job, he said, he has not missed one day.

Fatigue is his chronic enemy, and the ex-wrestler and ex-football player said it is still quite an adjustment trying not to overdo it with exercise. "Trying to make the adjustment is brutal," he said.

In his new job he is reviewing secondary school curriculum, analyzing a new state testing requirement and evaluating the Arlington schools' computer capabilities with future improvements in mind.

"For me to get up and move around is physically tough," he said. "You kind of fake that out. I'm trying to be as nonconspicuous of how I feel . . . . I'm giving it my all, it's going all right."