Program Review by Trent Vickrey, Physical Education Teacher at St. Philip Neri
When I was introduced to Tom Hanley and his team at Nine13sports, they were extremely professional, friendly, and flexible in planning when they would visit our school and begin the biking program. Because of spring break, tests such as ISTEP, and a few other factors, we had to schedule their visits to St. Philip Neri a little bit differently than visits are typically scheduled, and they had absolutely no problem doing this for us. At the conclusion of the meeting, I was very confident that the program would be beneficial to the students.
From the moment Nine13sports entered our school, they went above and beyond to make sure that the experience was positive for all of the students. They were there early each day to set up, stayed late occasionally to make sure that every student was able to get on a bike that day, and helped push students to become more active, while also providing a fun and exciting environment for everyone. There are days when it is hard to get children motivated to exercise in class, but Friday was not one of them because of the fact that Nine13sports was there. I was able to witness a lot of students work harder than I ever have because of this opportunity and think every school would greatly benefit from having Nine13sports present in class for a few weeks.
Nine13sports was able to provide students with the chance to get their heart rate up, use muscle groups that would be difficult to otherwise use in my class because of lack of equipment, and to increase their fitness test scores from the beginning of the school year. I do not think it is a coincidence that we saw better overall scores after the students participated in the biking program than we did before they had the opportunity to participate in it. Witnessing each student work so hard to complete a goal, whether it was to secretly beat a friend, (it isn’t a competitive atmosphere but that doesn’t mean there aren’t competitive students!) or to do their personal best was probably my favorite thing about the program. Each student left the class having had the opportunity to become more fit because of the program.
On the last day of the program, Nine13sports decided to donate new soccer goals to our school, simply because they noticed that we were in need of them. This simple but extremely generous gesture was appreciated by all students and solidified my personal opinion on the program, and of the individuals who make up Nine13sports, and that is that they are all extremely passionate about providing students with a unique opportunity to participate in an excellent biking program. I would strongly recommend every school to allow Nine13sports into their building for all of the reasons that I have listed and feel very fortunate to have had the chance to work with them.