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Physical education students win national college bowl

Published on April 03, 2023

Physical education students win national college bowl

(First row, left to right): Sarah Gallagher, Payton Shannon, Samantha Mowry. (Second row, left to right): Isiah Lovell, Cole Paquin, Cole Hoffman

For the second year in a row and fourth year overall, Eastern physical education teacher candidates have won the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America National College Bowl.

Sarah Gallagher, Isiah Lovell and Cole Paquin were on the winning team, with Eastern’s second team of Samantha Mowry, Payton Shannon and Cole Hoffman placing eighth. Paquin and Gallagher were on the 2022 national title team. Eastern students also won the SHAPE National College Bowl in 2017 and 2019.

This year’s College Bowl was held March 29 in Seattle, WA, at the SHAPE America National Convention and Exposition. Nineteen teams from throughout the United States competed in a “Jeopardy” style competition with questions in the areas of motor behavior, exercise science, adapted physical education, health and wellness, dance, sport and games, and assessment.

"It was awesome meeting everyone from all over the country who had the same passion as me," said Shannon. "Eastern's professors have taught me so much more than just being a gym teacher; they have taught me how to guide individuals to have a passion for physical activity, but the most important thing is they taught me how to be a physical educator."

Gallagher agreed: “The professors in (our) health and physical education programs have set us up for success — we couldn't have won the competition without them. They have supported and guided me throughout the past four years. This program has given me so many unique opportunities to prepare me for my future, and attending, competing and winning the SHAPE national college bowl is a once in a lifetime experience.”

Students also relished the networking opportunities afforded by attending the national conference. “Exchanging ideas with educators creates limitless opportunities for all attendees to connect,” said Lovell, “whether it’s just exchanging names or sharing new equipment, strategies or content knowledge that may improve the acquisition of skills with students in the classroom.”

Lovell added, “I’d strongly advise any student looking to study physical education to join the warrior family and learn the same content knowledge that has made it possible for our team to win the SHAPE National College Bowl.”

Paquin agreed: "Not only does the PE program at Eastern shape us into future professionals, but the professors make sure to set high standards for us. Without the high standards, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Thanks to them, not only did we win back to back national championships, but they have also motivated us to be the best future teachers we can possibly be."

The Eastern students prepped for the national competition by winning the 13th annual Connecticut Association for Health Physical Education and Dance (CTAHPERD) Dee Perilli College Bowl this past November.

“Eastern’s physical education teacher candidates complete coursework in a variety of topics that encompass what well-rounded professionals need to know within their majors, concentrations and professional lives,” said Darren Robert, department chair and professor of education. “Coupled with this instruction, teacher candidates receive numerous opportunities to put their knowledge to practice in real-world teaching experiences.”

Robert thanked health/physical education faculty, the Education Department, cooperating teachers, the students’ families and the Kalber family for their support. “Providing students/teacher candidates with experiences like this is what makes Eastern an awesome place to be!”

Written by Ed Osborn and Michael Rouleau