Paddling through P.E.

Molly Liebergall, Staff Writer

The Staples pool is associated with swimming laps and playing water polo, but the new addition of kayaking to the P.E. program has changed students’ opinions of the infamous quarter-long course.

The idea to add kayaking to the P.E. curriculum originated from the Physical Education Department Chair, David Gusitsch. “His idea was to try to increase some lifetime activities in our program, and also try to include some activities that could be a little bit more meaningful and relevant towards the Westport community,” said P.E. teacher, Jeff Doornweerd.

Since Westport is a waterfront location, kayaks are available at beaches and stores throughout town. So, the P.E. department aimed to offer a course that would be relevant to this aspect of students’ lives, also known as a lifetime program.

These programs are designed to be new and exciting for students. “I actually really enjoyed the kayaks. It was fun, and I had a great time experiencing different activities in the pool,” said Helena Leskow ’16. Last year, the kayaks were experimentally introduced to the sophomore class , and many students preferred paddling through the pool to playing team-based activities.

“As the week progressed, kids weren’t asking ‘can we go change? I want to go shower’, instead, they would say ‘can we do kayaking again?’” Doornweerd said. With last year’s sophomore swimming classes, more people used the kayaks as time went on.

“It’s a positive addition because it offers students who may not be interested in team based sports an alternative activity that they can do and enjoy,” said Doornweerd.
In fact, many aspects of kayaking are appealing to students. “You can take a break and relax a little,” said Liz Sila ’16. In addition to the calm that it adds to swimming, students with longer hair are also ecstatic that kayaking does not require the arduous task of shampooing and conditioning after class.
“I told them that I was going to make it my goal to have nobody get their hair wet,” said Doornweerd. And, keeping his promise, “We did not have one person fall in,” he remarked, “scout’s honor!”