Driving by the Great Bend High School Memorial Stadium or the Panther Activity Center, the community is quick to recall football games, track meets, wrestling matches and other high-caliber athletic events. However, on a daily basis, the gyms and training facilities across Great Bend USD 428 serve a large number of students in teaching the values of health, exercise and positive social interactions.
The USD 428 Board of Education recently adopted Healthy Living Standards that seek to incorporate components of social/emotional, mental and physical health into classrooms across the district. Many of these teaching practices are already in place, but the K-12 curriculum outline provides a roadmap for both faculty, and the community, to reference.
To highlight the effort to make health and wellness an approachable topic, Shelly Duvall’s cardio class incorporates some unconventional means and methods to get her students moving.
“My goals in the classroom are for kids to experience healthy social interactions,” said Duvall, “I teach cooperation with group activities and teach the values of health and exercise.
Duvall uses games to motivate students and get them moving. Activities this past year included team building, flip cone relays and a “Selfie Challenge” that had students running across the GBHS campus to capture photos with their team. Duvall also uses her cardio class to introduce students to exercise practices such as Yoga that promote strength and flexibility, and an activity that is accessible at any age or fitness level.
When GBHS moves to an 8-hour school day this fall, enrollment in health, wellness and weight training will increase substantially. For example, Duvall’s cardio class will more than double in size, increasing to nearly 25 students from the 11 she had this year.
Duvall commented on the GBHS health curriculum, sharing that several of the chapters focus on mental, social and environmental health.
“We also cover nutrition and substance abuse,” she said. “With the adoption of the Health Living Standards, I am looking forward to rewriting some of our curriculum for next year.”
USD 428 health facilities are open and available for use this summer. In addition to Panther Power and other summer weightlifting programs open to students, the track at GBHS is open and available for use by the community. For more information about summer athletic training programs, contact the Great Bend Middle School or Great Bend High School Athletic offices.