Waupaca fifth graders spent time on the ice instead of on the gym floor when they went to the Waupaca Curling Club for physical education class.
During the past week, students took what they learned in the gym to the curling club.
“We try to simulate curling as best we can in the gym, but the students cannot get a true feel for the sport until we take the trip to the Curling Club,” said Brandon Temperly, one of the school district’s physical education teachers who accompanied the students to the Curling Club.
There, volunteers such as Jan Hanke helped with the lesson.
Hanke, who has been curling for 50 years, said the Waupaca Curling Club has hosted the fifth graders for at least 12 years.
Mary Feldt, who is also a physical education teacher in the district, was among those behind the idea.
The idea was to introduce students to lifetime sports.
“And this is a lifetime sport,” Hanke said. “We love to teach it at this age, because most can handle a rock.”
Before the students arrived at the curling club, they learned curling terms and practiced the sport in the middle school gym.
“Today was the first time they actually did it,” Hanke said on Thursday, March 7, after a group of students left the curling club. “It’s amazing. Some kids get it rather quickly.”
For Temperly, this was his fourth year taking fifth graders curling.
“It is a great opportunity for the students to experience a sport that they might not have done or even seen before. It is a lifetime activity that allows individuals of all ages to participate,” he said.
Hanke also hopes the introduction results in some students deciding to join the club.
The Waupaca Curling Club started in 1879, she said.
People have been curling in the current building, located at the end of Badger Street, since 1926, Hanke said.
“We have junior curlers for ages 12 to 21. They have competition at the state and national level,” she said. “The big part of it is the camaraderie.”
That program builds into the high school program, she said.
For Hanke, curling has been a part of her life for many years.
She enjoys sharing her love of the sport with others.
“I’m really thankful to the school district for allowing us to teach this lifetime sport through their physical education class,” Hanke said.
She said it is a sport people may do throughout their lifetimes, with stick curling and wheelchair curling among the ways the sport may be extended.
The Waupaca Curling Club has leagues Sunday through Thursday.
Hanke said the club is fortunate to be assisted in funding by the Nomads Club of Waupaca, which purchases brooms for the club, especially for junior curlers. City of Waupaca hotel/motel tax dollars also support it.