Skateboarding in Schools

I just love hearing news stories like the one below. It’s just amazing where skateboarding has come from and the heights that it has reached today! I would have been so excited to be able to sign up for a skateboarding class in school of all places! Rock on Mountain Valley High School! Rock on!

Skateboarding Added To Maine High School’s Curriculum

RUMFORD (NEWS CENTER) — For Tom Prendergast, skateboarding in school only led to trouble. Now he is being graded on his form. “Every time we skateboarded in here, we would always get yelled at,” said Prendergast. “I never thought that it would ever happen. I was really surprised when I heard that we had skateboards.”

Mountain Valley High School in Rumford is the first school in Maine to offer skateboarding as an option for students to take as part of their physical education requirements. The school used grant money to buy skateboards, helmets and pads to use as part of the Skate Pass program, which helps teachers instruct kids on how to skate. The school recently built a skate park with funds they received, so educators decided to help teach kids how to skate.

“We wanted to do something so kids had an opportunity to learn to skate because we have a new skate park in town, so we figured we would bring it to them in our high school phys ed,” said physical education teacher Todd Papianou. “It hits all the components of fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility for sure, and to see them down at the park, or just pushing around town, it is definitely a good cardio workout.”

Students enrolled in the program appreciate the chance to try their hand at something different. “Before this, I kind of looked down to it, I didn’t think that it looked like that much fun,” said sophomore Heather Adley. “We got the opportunity and sat down and tried it, it is a lot more fun than it actually looks.”

“It is a good opportunity to learn something like this that you don’t get offered everyday,” said Samantha Glover. “I tried some tricks and then I fell and I hadn’t tried again and then I said, ‘I want to try again,’ plus I have all this gear on, so it is safe.”

The program uses special boards that do not harm the gym floor, but can also be taken outside and used on the street or at the skate park. Teachers also have books to help them learn what they are about to teach their kids. “For me, it was a little bit of a challenge, a little bit outside of my comfort zone to get back on a skateboard, but it has been really positive and it has been a nice little change,” said Papianou. He says the program may appeal to kids who aren’t interested in sports or school and may give them a reason to still come to class.

“There are some kids who, you know, they might not excel in other areas, but all of a sudden there is something that, ‘Hey, I think I can do that,’ and if it is just one pick-up in there day, one up-beat thing – keeps the kid enthused about school – then I’ve done my job,” stated Papianou. “I just want to get everybody out being active, doing something new and having fun.”

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