Snow enables winter sports lessons at Newark MS

The abundance of snow in recent weeks, coupled with COVID-19 guidelines to hold physical education classes outdoors as much as possible, made the time just right for Newark Middle School students to receive instruction in snowshoeing and sledding.

PE teachers Michelle Cushman, Bill Kirnie and Henry Kuperus reported mixed reactions among students as they learned to snowshoe; however, interest picked up as they were able to navigate the wooded, hilly trails behind NMS and Newark High School. 

Newark Middle School students enjoy a snowshoeing lesson during PE.

“Overall, the reaction has been great,’’ said Kuperus, PE leader for the Newark Central School District. 

NMS shares some athletic equipment with the high school, like the snowshoes. The district was unable to purchase sledding equipment, because suppliers were sold out. Kuperus sent an email to NMS staff asking for sleds and saucers in order to start the sledding unit. 

“By Monday morning, [staffers] brought 20 sleds to the gym for the kids to use,’’ he said.

Sixth grader Aiden Belling and PE teacher Henry Kuperus give a thumbs up after a snowshoeing lesson at Newark Middle School.

Kuperus said students seemed to enjoy sliding down the hills on the sleds and saucers, and he was surprised how many students said they’d never been sledding before.

“Our objective in PE is to help students find something they enjoy doing, so they will stay active,’’ he said. “We also want to give kids the opportunity to try things they may never have done outside of school.”

Students participate in a sledding class at Newark Middle School.