Texas Students Jump for PE
Texas students visit the Capitol to learn about the Legislature and thank legislators for their support of Quality Physical Education.
On May 15, 2017, the Voices for Healthy Kids Texas team hosted a group of K-5 students from East Terrell Hills Elementary School in North East ISD, an underserved area of San Antonio. The group was accompanied by Rachel Naylor, Director for Physical Education, Health and Athletics, North East ISD, who is also the President of the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (TAHPERD). TAHPERD is a critical partner in the success so far of the Quality Physical Education legislation in Texas (SB 1873 and HB 3606). PE Teacher Brad Cavanaugh, who brought the group, has led a jump rope club since 1998 and is an avid supporter of the American Heart Association (AHA) Jump Rope for Heart. This amazing group of 17 students visited the Texas State Capitol in Austin for the first time to learn about the Legislature and thank legislators for their support of a beloved subject, Quality Physical Education. In fact, these students – who range from Kindergarten to 5th grade – know something about being healthy! Many of them are on the school’s jump rope team. This team performs for PTA events, and even hosts a Jump Rope Showcase in front of 3,000 people.
Students, parents, and teachers visited 26 legislative offices after an official tour of the Capitol. Students were excited to complete coloring sheets, which they then delivered to Senator José Menéndez, who represents their district. Students also signed and delivered sneaker-shaped thank-you notes to the authors of the Quality PE legislation, their Senator and Representative, House Public Education Committee members and staff, and Senate Education Committee members and staff.
For the school group, the highlights of the day were the jump rope demonstration and being recognized by their legislators. The students were most excited to show off their jump rope skills as they performed on the south walkway leading to the Capitol. They attracted a lot of attention from legislators and other visitors to the Capitol as they demonstrated an impressive range of jump rope techniques. Following the demo, students were recognized by their Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins in the House Gallery, and by Senator Menéndez in the Senate Gallery. Senator Menéndez then surprised the kids by jump roping for them before posing for a group photo!