Published 7:41 pm Friday, April 29, 2022

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A stampeding herd of Old West range cattle couldn’t have equaled the muffled racket coming from the gymnasium at Troy Elementary School.

Twisting tangles of kids cluttered the floor; arms were wind-milling, legs were going in opposite directions, bottoms were bouncing. Squeals and laughter filled the gym.

“We’re skating,” one youngster yelled, just before he was skating no more. Two skaters topple over him and another avoided the pile only to lose his balance and take other skaters down with him, in domino fashion.

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The only sounds louder in the gym were those of squeals and laughter.

“It’s fitness on wheels,” said Dr. Candice Howard-Smith, Troy University, “And, as you can see, it’s fun!”

To avoid the roller rink traffic,” Howard-Smith moved back from the floor and the fun.

“This opportunity for the Troy Elementary School students to learn to skate was made possible through the Skatetime School Program that provides the skates for two weeks, at a cost, of course,” said Howard-Smith. The program is designed so that kids can experience what skating is, enjoy skating and, hopefully, for some, skating will become a lifetime activity.”

For the Troy University students, who are majoring in physical education, the Skatetime School Program was also a learning experience. Physical education majors enrolled in classroom management receive instruction on teaching strategies, the planning and organization of classroom activities, and ways to organize and implement programs. Skatetime provides them with hands-on experiences.

“This program is an outstanding learning opportunity for physical education majors,” Howard-Smith said. “They have an opportunity to interact with young students in a fun-learning environment.”

Howard-Smith said the P.E.  majors show the young skaters how to “toe-down,” help them up from a fall and laugh with them when they tumble.

There is no better teaching tool than the informal interaction with young students, she said.

For Jackson Kilcrease, the opportunity to see youngsters learning by doing was a unique experience.

“It was fun watching these young kids who had not been on skates before,” Kilcrease said. “They had trouble putting them on and then standing up in them. But they weren’t afraid to get rolling.”

Although the “roll” was short and the ending was a little hurtful, Kilcrease said the kids got right back up and were off again.

It was fun watching the kids have fun and encouraging that opportunities like Skatetime would be available to supplement and enhance their own teaching programs, several of the physical education majors said.

About that time, the young skaters had the opportunity to “Limbo!”

On their own, they formed a line and “Limbo-ed some more!”

“This is the most fun I’ve ever had!” a skater said, as her turn approached.

She ducked under the bar and immediately found herself of the floor with other skaters tumbling around her. Two university students helped untangle the young skaters and sent them, laughingly, on their way.

“It has been a great opportunity for our students to ‘try’ skating and to know how much fun skating can be,” said Jennifer Sikes, TES physical education teacher. “Without Skatetime many of these students might never have put on a pair of skates.”

Sikes joined TES Principal Teresa Sims in expressing appreciation to Howard-Smith and her students for providing a physical education enrichment opportunity for the young students.

Skatetime at Troy Elementary School was made possible by the Troy University Classroom Management Class that organized two fund raisers and sought donations to fund each first-grade student. Smith Drywall contacted a Yeti Cooler for a raffle. They also held a spirit night at Momma Goldberg’s. The Pike County Banking Association and the TES PTO donated to the program.

“We greatly appreciate all those who donated and those who supported the fundraisers, Howard-Smith said. “Skatetime is $10 per student. The class raised the 1,600 needed to fund the first graders.

“Hopefully, we made memories and the impression of a fun, lifetime physical activity.”