Skip to Main Site Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Back To Top

Physical education students stand out at state conference

Published on November 28, 2023

Physical education students stand out at state conference

Eastern wins College Bowl second year in a row

Eastern wins second consecutive College Bowl
Eastern wins second consecutive College Bowl

Eastern’s physical education majors won the College Bowl at the Connecticut Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CTAHPERD) fall conference on Nov. 16 and 17, competing against others from around the state. Additionally, two Eastern students were awarded for their impact in the classroom while three others joined business administration Professor Charles Chatterton in presenting at the conference. 

“Our absolutely wonderful faculty team has really bonded together to give these teacher candidates (students) the best physical education and health teacher preparation program around,” said education Professor Darren Robert. “I am so proud of the faculty and the teacher candidates because it really is a team effort. Our candidates know that they are being prepared to complete a rigorous teacher education program and an even more rigorous career awaits. We all know how important keeping people physically and mentally active is and we all know how to do so.” 

College Bowl Champions 

For the second consecutive year, Eastern won the 2023 Dee Perrelli College Bowl. Eastern's team will travel to Ohio in the spring to defend its National College Bowl Championship at the SHAPE America National Convention and Exposition. The team was led by captains Cole Hoffman ’24 and Isiah Lovell ’24. Members Katie Roberts ’25, Lexi Almeida ’25, Gianna Scoppetto ’25 and Hunter Baillargeon ’24 worked tirelessly to pull off the win. 

“(We) were ready to go when the time came; we had prepared well. All we had to do was perform,” said Hoffman.  

“After winning the CTAHPERD College Bowl, one of our team members was visibly shaking with excitement,” Professor Robert said. “It sent chills up my back just thinking of what it means to these teacher candidates and to Eastern.” 

Robert said, “I have brought four teams to the SHAPE America convention and plan to bring a fifth to Cleveland in March 2024. When I ask our most outstanding future professionals if they would like to join Eastern's College Bowl Team, it is like they just opened up their favorite birthday present. They quickly get on their phones to spread the great news to their family and friends.” 

“It is an honor to be a captain on this team,” Hoffman said. “I am very proud of our team's performance, and I can’t wait to go to Ohio and compete at SHAPE America. It is an amazing experience going to this conference and competing with other schools. I take great pride in leading this team with my other captain, Isiah Lovell.” 

Outstanding Future Professionals 

Jessica Pyrek-Bennett ’25 and Lovell were two of six students across Connecticut presented with the Outstanding Future Professional Award. To receive the award, students must maintain a high standard of academic achievement and demonstrate their ability to contribute positively to their university and the broader community. Both students, following their graduation, hope to teach PE. 

Lovell (left) and Pyrek-Bennet
Lovell (left) and Pyrek-Bennet

“As a teacher, I want to be remembered as the educator that goes the extra mile each day,” Lovell said, “To the point where ‘Mr. Lovell’s’ outstanding actions are a normal occurrence. I want my passion to be infectious; every student will remember an enjoyable and meaningful experience in my class.” 

“I want to make an impact on every child that steps into my gym for the better,” said Pyrek-Bennet. “As a teacher, I want to be remembered as someone who never gave up on her students. Being a teacher is more than ‘teaching,’ it is about being an outlet to students. Being that outlet is essential in guiding students to their maximum potential in and out of the classroom.” 

At the conference, the students also heard from physical education leaders from across the state. 

“The conference gave me the opportunity to hear from various professionals,” Lovell said. “I learned about new educational policy and curriculum that has been used to effectively impact student learning. Discussions like these truly provide a professional setting for educators to learn and bring new ideas into their own classroom.” 

Pyrek-Bennet said, “It’s amazing how many activities can be done with just one hula hoop, or just one scarf, and how creative you can get with such little equipment, having students work together and build off their creativity.” 

Professor Charles Chatterton (left) and Jonah Person
Professor Chatterton (left) and Person

Student Presentations 

Seniors Jonah Person ’24, Sarah Remillard ’24 and Mackenzie Teper ’24 presented with Professor Chatterton on mental health training at the high school and collegiate level.  

Mental health among high school and college students has been on a constant decline. Eastern students, in their work, hope to combat this troubling reality and provide resources to other future educators so that students of all ages and abilities have the best chances of success. 

“I am very thankful to Dr. Chatterton for being my supervisor in the youth sports independent study and for giving me the opportunity to present,” said Person. “He has been a great instructor who not only is very knowledgeable but also an excellent teacher.” 

Regardless of how they participated, Eastern’s students demonstrated their abilities, honed through their efforts during their undergraduate studies with the help of their faculty mentors. 

“PE is one big family. We are all connected and we all matter,” said Pyrek-Bennet. “We have changed so many lives for our students. Connecting with people and sharing stories is just awesome.” 

Written by Marcus Grant