BOSTON — Many people head for the beaches and a getaway from work on spring break.

Lone Grove Primary Elementary physical education Virginia Mitchell, however, had other plans for the break. 

Mitchell traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, for the SHAPE America National Convention during the break from school. SHAPE, the Society of Health and Physical Educators, is the nation’s largest membership organization for health and physical education professionals and supports initiatives like Jump Rope For Hearts, Let’s Move! Active Schools and other fitness programs. 

Mitchell, with the help of Schools for Healthy Lifestyles, was able to attend the organization’s convention for a fourth time. 

“SHAPE America holds this event every year for Health and Physical Educators across the country…to come together to have a chance to learn and collaborate from each other,” Mitchell said. “As well as have a chance to meet with vendors and other groups that provide equipment and services to teachers and other health professionals.”

Mitchell made the trip across the country for professional development, as well as to network, collaborate and learn more about health and fitness. Through the convention and sessions, Mitchell was able to learn valuable information, ideas and strategies that can not only be implemented in her classes, but shared with her peers. 

“I always walk away feeling re-energized about what and why I do what I do each day,” she said of the trip. “Each time I leave with new ideas for storage and equipment, games, and strategies for management and assessment to use in my classroom.”  

The professional development and sessions are specifically geared toward health and fitness professionals, something Mitchell said makes the experience unique and catered to its attendees. 

“I love the fact that the sessions are always very interactive and they want you to participate,” she said. “What other way is there to learn things if you are a PE Teacher?”

While the trip was meaningful and worthwhile for Mitchell, Mother Nature almost didn’t allow the trip to happen. 

Mitchell, with her son and mother, were scheduled to fly for Boston on Tuesday morning, but winter storm Stella, which swept across the Northeast coast last week, threatened to jeopardize the trip by dumping inches of snow in Boston, delaying the trip. 

Even with Stella providing a big bump in the road, Mitchell and her two accompanying travelers made it to Boston Wednesday night, just in time for a Boston Celtics game, which was a big highlight for Mitchell’s son. While not in sessions, Mitchell and her family toured Boston and visited historic and interesting sites in the area. 

“Every single second of this trip was my favorite part, whether it was site-seeing with my family or attending sessions with other amazing Physical Education teachers from across the country,” Mitchell said. “Even our little detour due to winter storm Stella, made this a memorable and unforgettable spring break.”