Olympic-style fun at Barbe HS

By By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

There are no sleds, ice or medals, but the Winter Olympics are in full swing during Barbe High School’s girls P.E. classes.

Teachers Jill Nunez and Kelly Durio are guiding students through makeshift versions of Olympic events and live-streaming the

actual games during class. The unofficial games have sparked greater participation and interest in the classes.

Friday’s “bobsled” races featured pairs on adjacent scooters, propelling themselves around the basketball court with a variety

of strategies, including foot-pedalling, belly crawling and not-so-accurate steering.

“They come up with all kinds of stuff,” Nunez said. “They love it. It keeps them entertained; it is something different. Next

week we will have hockey.”

Students are competing for prizes and representing fictional countries.

“We have nine teams. Whoever finishes first in each event gets nine points and so on, then at the end of the Olympics we will

have a team champion,” Nunez said.

“We do it every year to keep the girls interested, do different things. It is fun. It makes it so much easier to have the

Olympics on so that they can see what is

going on. They make up their own

country. They have to find a color with the same countries. They have to

include where the

Olympics are this year and make up some stuff, like a capital and

famous people who are from there. They get creative. Most

of the time they combine their own names to make the name of the

country.”

Students get a practice day to experiment with different strategies before competing for points.

“They find what works for them and pair up within each team,” Nunez said. “Some of them work better with each other, so they

might change up the teams.”

Nunez said interest in the actual Olympics being shown on a projector varies from class to class.

“It depends on what event is on,” she

said. “When the halfpipe (snowboarding) was on, they didn’t want to get

dressed, they

didn’t want to go to class — they wanted to watch. One of the

classes this morning was really into the curling. It depends

on what is going on. Sometimes they will get interested and ask a

lot of questions, want to know about the rules. We had to

look up the curling rules. They wanted to know how they steered

during the skeleton races; we were able to learn how crazy

that is and how fast they go.”

Nunez said the games are a hit with students.

“This is the most involved we can get

students,” she said. “We do everything we can to get them involved. They

really like

it. Since it is team, the others will encourage them to

participate. You have to give them something different. It is easier

on teachers if they are enjoying it. Now they are getting exercise

and having fun.”

The offbeat games have been popular among students who are not interested in traditional sports.

“With girls, it is easier if it is

something they can do,” Nunez said. “If we do basketball or track, some

will be a lot better

than others, some will clearly be faster than others or jump

further than others, so some will not want to try it. It is not

easy for everybody. But with this, everyone is willing to try.

“Basketball was probably the least

favorite thing they did. They loved badminton; that is another thing

where everyone can

play — they can all hit the birdie. They are not embarrassed. You

can do it even if you have never touched a racquet. With

these, they don’t use scooters every day and no one is better than

anyone else. It is surprising, some of the quietest kids

become the big competitors. They get to show their personalities.”

Nunez said she is a big fan of the Olympics and is glad to see her students enjoy them as well.

“I love the Olympics. It is my

favorite,” she said. “With this, I enjoy just like looking at the

students. How many P.E. classes

do you go into where they are exercising and having fun at the

same time? I love it this year because they are asking about

the Olympics a lot. Some of them have never watched it before.”