I am currently a senior in the professional Physical Education and Human Performance program at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). I come from a small town in Virginia and am the first in my family to go to college. Upon enrolling at CCSU, I knew I wanted to be a physical educator. What I did not know, however, was that physical education and the students of my community would completely become my drive and passion in life.
During my first semester at Central, I fell in love with the physical education program. My professors were engaging and supportive in helping achieve my academic goals. They inspired me so much that I did not want to stop after class was dismissed. I asked for more and that is exactly what I got and then some. With the help of my amazing professors, I now serve as president of the CCSU Physical Education Club. I also have the honor of serving as one of the CTAHPERD student representatives from CCSU and as the SHAPE America Eastern District student representative.
At the state and district level, I am part of the state executive board and the district leadership council. Our teams help create and implement ideas on ways to enhance effective communication between our professional organization and all of its members and to share standards-based research and proven teaching strategies to help advance our profession and give our students/future students the education they deserve. We are also responsible for keeping our members aware of upcoming professional development opportunities in an area near them. At the national level, I will advocate for our profession on Capitol Hill during SPEAK Out! Day in March.
Personally, I have had the honor of helping to prepare for the annual conferences where I preside for nationally and internationally known speakers. As if this weren’t enough, I was given the honor to present at two CTAHPERD conferences and will also do so at the upcoming SHAPE America Eastern District Conference this May (see you there!).
These leadership roles have completely transformed me as a future professional. I have learned so many effective teaching strategies that I will carry with me forever. From grouping strategies, to effective transitions and classroom management tips, to increasing OTRs and MVPA in an effective manner, these organizations have broadened my horizon and pushed me to a level I never dreamed possible. They have instilled such a passion in me to keep learning and they have made me realize that there is so much out there for me that I have not experienced yet. The amount of knowledge I have obtained from being involved at the state, district and national level is immeasurable. What’s even greater about these organizations is how they have transformed me as a person.
The leaders in these organizations have taught me by example to not only talk the talk but to also walk the walk for my students. They taught me how to dream and made me realize that with hard work and collaboration, I am capable of succeeding. Most importantly, they believed in me, a first-generation college student. This was not because I was extraordinary, but because I took a risk and got involved in our wonderful professional organizations. They accept everyone with open arms; all you need is the drive to be better today than you were yesterday.
To all of my fellow future professionals, I encourage and invite you to take that next step in your academic and personal journey and get involved! There are so many opportunities out there waiting for you to take advantage of and grow from. There is no greater way to network with professionals than to get involved at your state, district and national level. This will open up so many doors for you that you never would have dreamed were there.
The leaders in such organizations are with you every step of the way, molding you to become not only the best health and physical educator you can be, but more importantly they help you become a better version of yourself. I promise you that once you take that next step, you will not look back. You can do this. We can do this. Together we can make a difference.