Skagit Academy Offers Mountain Biking

Ninth- and tenth-grade students from Skagit Adventist Academy in Burlington, Wash., enjoyed a new unit in their physical education class this academic year: mountain biking.

Matthew Lee, SAA physical education teacher, received a Don Keele Award last year to fund the purchase of mountain bikes to be used in his classes. The Don Keele Award provides a grant to North Pacific Union Conference teachers for use in bringing innovative ideas into schools. This money, along with additional fundraising, helped purchase 15 mountain bikes.

"My favorite part was learning how to fix my own bike," says Kari Stickle, freshman. In addition to bicycle maintenance, students learned to ride comfortably and confidently on a single-track trail built last summer at the school.

"It was so rewarding for me to watch such a drastic improvement in skill take place over the past couple of months," says Lee. "So many of them greatly exceeded my expectations."

In addition to riding on the school trail, students learned to safely ride on local roads and took two field trips to local trails to apply their skills on more technical terrain.

"Helping students find sports to maintain fitness for a lifetime is what PE is all about," Lee says. "I hope that mountain biking will be that sport for many students as they come through my classes."

February 01, 2011 / Washington Conference