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Climbing Wall At Cary School A Big Hit With Third-Graders

Posted January 16, 2002

— A Cary physical education teacher is taking a creative approach to helping students stay fit, but the state's largest school climbing wall has a dual purpose.


climbing wall at Penny Road Elementary School

in Cary is a big hit with some third-graders. Their teacher, Gene Daniels, pushed for the wall after reading some disturbing news.

"I was reading in a lot of PE journals about how the fitness level of everybody has gotten a lot lower, and also they were talking about upper and lower body strength decreasing in the youth among all kids around the nation," he said.

Daniels said he started searching for money to buy the wall.

"Once I approached our PTA, they decided they bought into the idea. Mrs. King, our principal, fell in love with the idea and thought this was a great thing to help our students here, making a total child commitment. And the PTA came up with the funds," Daniels said.

Those funds are already producing results.

"My arms have been stronger all of a sudden after climbing on this several times," said third-grader Noelle Leary.

"As a soccer goalie, I can stretch my arms a little longer to get the ball," said third-grader Alice Frazer.

Daniels said not only has the wall improved the students' physical fitness, it has worked on their self-esteem too.

"With the students struggling in the classroom, those are the at-risk students, they need to have a way to increase their upper and lower body strength just to feel good about themselves, and this is a way for them to get their self-confidence," he said.

The wall is tied to the school's accelerated reader program. Students who reach their goals earn extra tickets to climb on the wall.


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