By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Gubser Elementary School students can expect many things when they walk into Wally Wing’s gymnasium, but sitting down isn’t one of them.
“I want to keep them active and moving, we don’t spend much time sitting. We have too many young students that are not involved in the full health/fitness circle of diet, exercise and rest,” Wing said.
Two weeks ago, Wing was honored for his efforts with a Crystal Apple. The award, sponsored by the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation, recognizes excellence in education by honoring those making a significant impact in the lives of children. Wing was one of three Keizer teachers to receive the honor.
Wing has been an educator for 27 years, and it was one of his own teachers who inspired him to tackle the job.
“Mr. Watts, a physical education teacher from the Redmond area, was very encouraging to me. For a while I thought I might teach high school, but I love the energy the young students bring to me,” Wing said.
Ideally, he wants all his kids to leave tired, but excited to get active again at the next possible opportunity. He said it’s becoming harder and harder to motivate kids to engage in physical activity outside of school.
In addition to his years teaching in elementary education, Wing maintains peripheral involvement in high school and college athletics.
“There are times when I push those athletes for more and they hit a wall that drains the fun out of the sport,” he said. “That’s when I reflect back and remember that those same athletes were elementary school kids at one time that just loved playing the sport for the pure love and not the outcome of a contest. Connecting that knowledge gives me a different perspective on how to approach both levels of participation.”