New PE class at Mehlville High School involves learning outdoor skills

Missouri

MEHLVILLE, Mo. – Students at Mehlville High School now have a unique option for PE credit that gets them out of the building and enjoying outdoor activities. 

The Adventure and Outdoor Pursuits class teaches kids a variety of outdoor skills and different types of adventures. They learn the skills in the classroom and then take field trips so they can put these skills to use out in the real world. 

“So right now one of the skills we are covering is how to use compasses and how to set bearings and things like that because obviously technology doesn’t always function properly, maybe you don’t have wi-fi connection, maybe you run out of battery. So it’s skills that hopefully if the kids ever need to use them down the road they can,” said Jill Wojewuczki, teacher and creator of the class. 

On Friday, they spent their class walking on the track to prepare for an upcoming hike on Oct. 26. 

“We’ll go to Shaw Nature Reserve and they have trails and things out there but they also have GPS units so the kids will be able to learn how to use GPS units and then take those out and use them on the trails,” Wojewuczki said. 

They also went canoeing on the Mississippi River after spending four weeks in a pool learning different paddle strokes and safety lessons to prepare them. Also in the curriculum, archery, rock climbing, and the classroom work to get their hunting license. 

Despite early skepticism, students are glad they took the class. 

“This year rolled around and I was dreading the first day, I didn’t want to come in here. But we had field trips planned of like fishing and kayaking and it sounded awesome. And then we’ve done it and I wished we took this class sooner. It was way cooler than I expected,” senior Tony Cook said. 

“I went canoeing in the Huzzah over the summer and it didn’t really go that well. So if I had taken this class last year maybe I would have been able to know how to navigate the waters a little bit more,” junior Lindsey Ward said. 

Interest in outdoor adventures peaked during the pandemic so students have enjoyed bringing family fun into the classroom. 

“It’s kind of nice to either, one, be able to do things with kids while they’re at their school day getting an education credit to graduate, things that they already enjoy doing or their families enjoy doing together, or for kids who have never experienced, for them to be able to do something new and fun to get their physical education credit,” Wojewuczki said. 

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