“Wellness Near the Wilderness” Convention at Highlands
New Mexico health, physical education, recreation and dance professionals gathered at Highlands University Oct. 13 — 14 for a “Wellness Near the Wilderness” convention hosted by the university’s Exercise and Sport Sciences Department.
“It was a great opportunity to share success stories and collaborate with colleagues on new ideas for how to continue to support healthy and active lifestyles,” said Pete LeRoy, an exercise and sport sciences professor at Highlands who managed the convention.
The 78th annual convention of the New Mexico Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, NMHPERD, focused on the latest trends in these fields.
The convention covered topics ranging from implementing activities in public school classrooms to a discussion of New Mexico educational system reform, and its impact on physical education programs.
LeRoy, who is past president for the professional organization, said the majority of the members are public school health and physical education teachers, including coaches.
“One of the highlights of the convention were talks by two highly successful head basketball coaches at Highlands: Joe Harge for the men and Tiffany Darling for the women,” LeRoy said.
Lynne Higdon of Los Alamos said the convention was a valuable learning experience. She is an elementary physical education teacher in Los Alamos and also coaches the JV girls basketball team at the high school.
“Coach Darling is a very dynamic, passionate speaker, and I learned a lot from her about building a team and developing camaraderie among the players using a family model,” Higdon said. “I’d like to bring our Los Alamos girls basketball teams down to watch her Highlands’ team play.”
Other Highlands University presenters at the convention included exercise and sport sciences professor Yongseek Kim, the department chair, and professor Andrellita Chavez. Adjunct faculty member Georgianne Brown also taught a session.
LeRoy said student presenters from exercise and sport sciences were an important part of the convention, including graduate students Adam Amador and Hyungyu Suh, and undergraduates Gino Blea and Jose Pomales.
He added that student members of the university’s Exercise and Sport Sciences Club were instrumental in helping with the convention.
The Highlands University Exercise and Sport Sciences Department provides students with a comprehensive understanding of health, physical education, exercise science, and sport administration.