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P.E. department awarded grant of about $900,000

P.E. department awarded grant of about $900,000
Eliza Llewellyn

After applying for three of past four years, the Westport Physical Education Department received the Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant for $936,000.

David Gusitch, the head of the Westport P.E. Department, describes their enduring desire and persistence in applying for this grant. “The application process is very extensive, but knowing the end result, the potential, the scope of the grant, we always felt that it was worth the time invested to apply for it,” Gusitch said.

Beaming with excitement for all that the P.E. department is capable of doing with the grant, Gusitch shares his goals for the future P.E. experience. “One of our goals is to make wellness more of a positive experience in a known commodity for not only students in Westport but their families as well, and with this grant we are able to provide a unique and more individual experience that is positive for all students,” Gusitch said.

With this grant, Gusitch said that, “We’re getting updated equipment, supplies, technology. We will be having professional development opportunities for staff, and this is for kindergarten through 12th grade, all eight schools.”

Along with these opportunities, the P.E. department hopes to also offer activities such as dance, yoga and Pilates for the P.E. classes. Westport’s waterfront community also opens up the opportunity to use stand up paddle boards and kayaks in the swimming experience at the high school. “We’re very excited to offer these activities to our students,” Gusitch said. “We want to offer experiences that are positive and unique, that students are really interested in pursuing.”

Shifting towards a program that focuses that focuses on the mind-body connection, Gusitch hopes that with this grant, the P.E. department can give students the opportunity to experience the mind and body connection, and use it to their advantage in their lives outside of class. “We’re focusing mind-body connection which is a big part of this grant and the wellness initiative for people to understand how important movement is in learning.”

Westport is one of two school districts in Connecticut to receive the grant and one of sixty who received it nationwide this year. Being so fortunate, Gusitch expresses the department’s utmost wishes for the P.E. program’s improvement. “We want to provide an experience that many other districts aren’t able to provide with the hope that students will be of interest in the improved program and that they’ll want to engage in these activities down the road as a life time activity.”

P.E. is transitioning towards a wellness type approach as opposed to the traditional physical education program implemented thus far.

“I think that it will ultimately speak to the value of a quality physical education experience for students,” said Gusitch. “We’re going to be able to do things that a regular P.E. program wouldn’t normally get to do and that’s very exciting. It gets the staff excited and we hope it’ll get the students excited about this experience, all that it’s going to offer them, and how we’re going to be able to evolve our program.”

Westport is so lucky to have received this grant, and there is no doubt that the PE department will use the grant to make Physical Education a fresh, unique, and memorable experience for students from the age of five-years-old to students who are eighteen.

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About the Contributors
Jane Levy, Editor-in-Chief
When she first joined Inklings her sophomore year, Jane Levy ’16 was scared to raise her hand in class. She lacked confidence in her voice and her skill.   But she stuck with it, and now, she can’t imagine what high school would be like without it. “Inklings defines my high school experience,” Levy, who is now the Editor-in-Chief of Inklings, said with a smile. Though she loves journalism, it’s the people in Inklings who make her experience meaningful. “Through Inklings I have made my best friends,” she said. “I would have missed out on so much had I not joined.” Being a part of Inklings has taught her that with freedom comes responsibility and that what you put in you get out. “The lessons I have learned in Inklings transcend into all aspects of my life,” she said. “I am so fortunate to be leading this class, club and community.”
Eliza Llewellyn, Web Managing Editor
Eliza Llewellyn ’14 is driven and well-rounded. Now that it’s her third year on Inklings, she’s ready to take the lead. As web managing editor, Eliza is excited to advance the Inklings website with innovations in media and graphics. It’s not going to be easy, and fortunately her experience as co-captain of the Staples JV tennis team has taught her the valuable leadership skills necessary for the job. Not only this, but her position on the yearbook committee and her commitment to playing piano constantly puts her time management skills to the test. While her job on Inklings may also be extremely time-consuming, she puts it above all else. “If I’m doing homework at 10:30 p.m. and a new e-mail pops up with an article, I stop what I’m doing to read it,” said Eliza. “It’s one of my first priorities.” When Eliza isn’t editing articles, she’s writing them. Last year she wrote a news story, "Legacies: Investigating a College Application Controversy," which she considers one of her best works. “It felt good to talk to guidance counselors and college admissions officers because I was finding information that people would not get otherwise,” said Eliza. This year she hopes to pursue writing in-depth and research-based articles, as well as find a good balance among all her extracurriculars. With her dedication and drive, there’s no doubt Eliza will go above and beyond.

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