A Tusculum College professor and student recently served as volunteer assistants at the Major of the Year Award and Reception Ceremony of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).
Dr. Kirpal Mahal, professor of physical education, and Kate Prisco, a junior from Rogersville, volunteered to help at the ceremony for the association, which is the leading authority for physical education standards. The ceremony was held during the 126th Convention of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), which was held in San Diego from March 30 to April 3.
This was the first time that Prisco attended the AAHPERD convention. She said serving at the NASPE ceremony was a great experience in that she was able to meet a number of professionals and learn about their work. As a volunteer, Prisco said she felt like an important part of the event and the association, which she described as open-minded with the right goals, enthusiasm and drive to get professionals active in its mission.
Dr. Mahal commended Prisco for the professional manner in which she performed her duties at the ceremony and the way she presented herself and represented Tusculum College very well.
During the NASPE ceremony, Tusculum senior Simon Holzapfel, from Nuremberg, Germany, along with 90 other undergraduate students in the physical education and exercise science fields from various universities, was awarded the NASPE Major of the Year Award. Holzapfel said it is a great honor to be the recipient of this award as only one student is nominated annually for the honor by the faculty of Tusculum’s Physical Education and Sport Studies Department.
Dr. Mahal accompanied a group of Tusculum students majoring in physical education or sports studies to the convention, including Elisa Andriano of North York, Ontario; Calvin Britt of Augusta, Ga.; Dean Hopewell of Leicester, England; Cassandra Melnike of Pickering, Ontario; Angie Michaud of Surgionsville, Tenn., Holzapfel, and Prisco.
At the convention, the students had the opportunity to meet and mingle with scholars and professional leaders in sports, health and physical education fields. The convention offered around 700 sessions, presentations and events on a variety of topics related to the students’ fields of study.
The students had the unique opportunity to tour to the U.S. Olympic Training Center at San Diego. The facility is one of only three Olympic training centers in the U.S. and is a gift from the San Diego National Sports Training Foundation, a group of dedicated business and community leaders, as well as volunteers, who raised the funds to build the center. The complex is mostly outdoors and covers 155 acres.
Dr. Mahal, Holzapfel, Michaud and Prisco also attended a social event sponsored by Springfield College, meeting its faculty and alumni. Springfield College, located in Massachusetts, is one of the nation’s most prestigious institutions in exercise science and physical education.
Holzapfel was one of only three student delegates selected to represent the entire student membership of AAHPERD and attended the Alliance Assembly, its governing body, on April 2. The delegates voted for the next president-elect of the Alliance, Irene Cucina, and approved motions including that “the Alliance work toward one unified national organization with a focus on comprehensive physical education, physical activity, and health.” This vote will result in the five organizations that comprise AAHPERD being transformed into one comprehensive organization.
Attending the convention was an exceptional experience for most of the Tusculum students. Prisco said she had an excellent experience attending sessions, presentations and meeting other professionals of various physical education and sports-related fields. She said it was inspiring to see so many people working passionately for the same goal of increasing the public’s activity level and improving their health.
The students also expressed appreciation for Dr. Mahal’s initiative and efforts that made the trip possible to provide the students with such an important learning experience and part of their professional development.
Dr. Mahal and the students also expressed appreciation for the financial support from the Tusculum administration, the Teaching and Professional Growth Committee and the Physical Education and Sports Studies Department.