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Kendall-Whittier Elementary students visit the TU Rowing Center

Sometimes the best way to learn is to roll up the sleeves and experience something new. Elementary education senior and member of the TU rowing team Kristy Covre struggled to explain to second graders at Kendall-Whittier Elementary what rowing meant.

On her first day as a student teacher, Covre’s cooperating teacher introduced her to her class, “This is Miss Covre. She is on the women’s rowing team,” she recalled. “They were all like: ‘What is rowing?’”

After showing them pictures and still receiving blank stares, Covre knew it was time for a field trip. She invited 40 girls from second to fourth grade to the TU rowing center. “I ended up having a lot of my teammates’ support. We were able to buddy up each student with a teammate of mine,” Covre said.

The students were placed on indoor rowers and rowing tanks, which is a simulated rowing boat.

“It was funny to see these little guys in the rowing tank with the big oars, but they were awesome,” she said.

Covre’s students were not the only ones learning by participation. While student teaching, “I went into it thinking that I was going to be very intimidated by the little kids, but after spending eight weeks there, I loved all of them,” she said.

Growing up in Canada, Covre’s school experiences differed greatly from the schools in Oklahoma. Kendall-Whittier has a high percentage of students who receive free and reduced lunch, which means they come from families with a low income. “At first it was a learning curve: learning how to relate to the kids and how to engage them,” Covre said. “They are much more grateful to be at school than I ever was. I really love that about the schools here.”

The girls’ reaction to rowing was resounding excitement. Covre remembered one review, “Oh my gosh, this was so much fun.” The number one question was when could they come back.

In the fall, Covre will be rolling up her sleeves and taking on a fifth grade teaching position at Lindbergh Elementary School.