Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Samuel Karns Sets a Healthy Precedent

Samuel Karns, health fitness instructor at Westwood Elementary, was recognized for his professional ability and outstanding work with students.

During this past year, Karns received recognition as, “Emerging in the Profession Teacher of the Year” by The Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (TAHPERD). Karns received his award in Dallas earlier this year.

He was both surprised and excited to be acknowledged for his love for teaching.

 “It brings great honor to receive such recognition, and be able to do what my heart's passion is every day. My ultimate goal is striving to be better at what I do both inside and out of the gym for my students and the community. The award was just a reminder to me personally that what I am doing for kids is making a difference and having an impact on their futures,” fitness instructor Samuel Karns, said.

In addition to his award, Karns also started the first Kids-School Healthy Advisory Club (K-SHAC) in Spring Branch ISD district. Karns’s club consisted of 10 students; they were given the chance to participate in many events including making sushi at the Westwood cultural festival, making healthy food posters for the school cafeteria and helping construct the garden at Westwood Elementary.

The club also attended the teachers, “It’s Time” summit in San Antonio and toured the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) campus. At the “It’s Time” summit, each student spoke for 20 minutes about the journey that their K-SHAC took this year and their own personal aspirations for the future.

Felipe Tejeda, a former fifth-grader at Westwood Elementary told Samuel Karns that he plans to tell the Spring Oaks Middle School principal, “I [He] want[s] to start a middle school K-SHAC program.”

Hearing Felipe express his desires for a middle school K-SHAC made Karns realize the opportunity teachers and adults have to empower students.

“It is always going to be a memorable comment for me because Felipe affirmed that we are in fact empowering children for the future, and that has always been my goal.”

The 2011-2012 K-SHAC members included students Vincent Nunez, Catrina Pardo, Pablo Cuadra, Giovanna Hernandez, Rachel Webster, Kassandra Aviles, Annett Sanchez, Jasmine Razeghi, Asha Singh, and Felipe Tejeda.

Parent C-SHAC and D-SHAC representative Xavier Perez, Westwood Elementary former school nurse Christilynn Price-Osbourn, and Oliver Foundation Director Sandy Bristow, have all played major roles in the club’s success.

Westwood has shared the K-SHAC program and mission with both Rummel Creek and Edgewood Elementary schools in hopes that they will start clubs too.

To view an Animoto video created by member Pablo Cuada that covers the K-SHAC journey, click here.

Communications Dept. student intern Kali Venable compiled and wrote this story


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