About 333 miles is the distance from Lake Murray to Houston, Texas. It’s also the same distance some cyclists are riding around the state this week to help physical education teachers around Oklahoma. It was a raucous greeting for three of those cyclists on Wednesday as students from Lone Grove welcomed them to campus.
“It’s great motivation to keep our riders going across the state of Oklahoma,” said cyclist Brian Devore, speaking of the welcoming party of Longhorn students, drummers, cheerleaders and first responders. “The welcome to Lone Grove was outstanding.”
The visit is part of Pedal 4 PE, a collaboration of Healthy Schools Oklahoma, Online Physical Education Network, and U.S. Games to raise awareness about physical education and help school PE programs purchase gym equipment.
“We want to bring that awareness, but also we’re bringing tools out to the teachers,” he said. “U.S. Games is working with Healthy Schools Oklahoma to provide $500 gift certificates to each of the schools to purchase physical education equipment for the students.” Devore said free teaching curriculum from Online Physical Education Network is meant to empower physical education teachers.
Lone Grove PE teacher Virginia Mitchell said the OPEN curriculum is adaptable for various class sizes and grade levels while still meeting national standards. “It provides an easy opportunity to get my students up and moving,” she said.
“This is the new PE, it’s not the old PE where you play dodgeball or you play kickball all the time. We teach sport skills, but we do it in different ways through different activities,” Mitchell said. “We kind of disguise fitness in a very fun way,” she said with a smile.
After the welcoming ceremony in the parking lot, students moved inside the gym and took part in a demonstration by the cyclists about the importance of physical activity. Students were seen flexing their muscles, dancing wildly, and playing with imaginary hula hoops. Mitchell said that PE teachers would also be receiving professional development during Wednesday’s visit.
Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell helped kick off Pedal 4 PE in Oklahoma City on Monday, before sending the cyclists on their journey to visit schools, hold demonstrations, and present gift certificates. Devore said two more schools would be visited on Wednesday.
When asked about the hundreds of miles his group will be traveling this week, Devore said first responders and ordinary people have been very helpful. “Our riders have been so impressed with the motorists of Oklahoma...giving them wide berth on the roads and everyone being so polite,” Devore said.
The group will visit five more schools before riding back to Oklahoma City on Friday.