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Teachers showcase athletic hobbies

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P.E. teacher Chris Horpel shows off his windsurfing skills in an athletic poster for the Wellness Project.

By Divya Shiv

To promote fitness on campus, a professional development group called the Staff and Student Wellness Group is sponsoring the Wellness Project, which involves making posters of teachers participating in their favorite sport or activity. These posters will be placed around school in an effort to get students interested in different sports and to bring staff and students closer together through common interests.

This project was originally thought of during a professional development meeting where a few teachers met to discuss the community’s physical fitness. At this point, the Wellness Group was already brainstorming about how to get more publicity for their work, in order to inspire more people to exercise, but it was band teacher Sandra Lewis who first thought of creating the posters.

“I wanted to do something with staff wellness because if the staff feels healthy, they are more productive and have a better balance in both their life and while teaching,” Lewis said. “So I piggy-backed on the idea of the READ posters to show what the Gunn staff does, except instead of taking photos of the staff reading books, we are looking at what they do for recreation.”

Last year, Gunn READ posters were set up in the library to showcase different teachers reading their favorite books.

“I just hope this will let Gunn students see the staff beyond their role as teachers and that we have things that we carry over in every day life,” Lewis said. “You may be

a student on the cross country team and see a teacher who jogs or runs, and think that when you get older and are not on the cross country team, you can still continue the activity.”

After coming up with the idea, Lewis asked art teacher Mark Gleason to create a template and make the posters, and photo teacher Jennifer Hogan to take the photos of the teachers. “This project kind of adds to our layers of humanity,” Hogan said. “It’s a great way to show students that we have lives outside of school and to inspire them to try different sports.”

At the photo sessions, teachers bring in the equipment they use for their different activities to the photo room. “In one of the sessions, [math teacher Diane] Gleason came in with her riding saddle and her riding boots,” Hogan said. “We’ve taken photos of teachers who bike, who do yoga and even someone who skis.”

The photos are then given to Gleason, who spends a day making each poster. “It’s a fun challenge to have to use the information that people want you to incorporate and also make it pleasing to the eye,” Gleason said. “It’s the challenge of knowing that I only have this much space and trying to make it memorable.”

Once all of the photos and posters are finished, Wellness Group coordinator Diane Ichikawa plans to place them around the campus to reach a wide array of students.

Ichikawa also participated in the Wellness Project to show her interest in yoga. “With the posters, people can share their similar interests and students may even start a conversation with a teacher based on these posters,” she said. “Hopefully, this will lead to a stronger connection between the staff and the students.”

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Teachers showcase athletic hobbies