Radford University senior Rachel Dixon has been honored with the Frances A. Mays Outstanding Student Award from the Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (VAHPERD).
The professional organization, which promotes health and physical education, presents the award annually to an outstanding undergraduate senior who is majoring in health and human performance at a Virginia college or university.
Dixon, an aspiring health and physical education teacher, received the award Nov. 11 at VAHPERD’s 80th annual state convention and awards ceremony in Roanoke.
“I am very thankful to be named an outstanding student, and hope to be an outstanding teacher for my future students,” said the Stephens City native, who is scheduled to graduate in December with a 4.0 GPA.
“Rachel has volunteered with the Special Olympics, served as a recreational aide for a local parks and recreation department and been a consistent leader within our major and department as a whole,” Health and Human Performance Professor Jon Poole said. “She is an outstanding and highly competent teacher who will make Radford very proud.”
Radford University’s physical and health education teaching program has given Dixon, she said, “many opportunities to practice, reflect and improve my teaching skills, which has helped me excel in my field more than I ever thought possible.
“I can’t thank my professors, cooperating teachers, family, friends and Radford University enough for helping me reach this point,” Dixon continued. “They have impacted me greatly and have pushed me to become the best educator I can be.”
Many of those HHP faculty members, along with Dixon and a few of her classmates, presented at the VAHPERD convention.
HHP faculty and student presentations included:
- “Be Ready to Teach CPR/FA in Your High School/Middle School,” by Associate Professor Anna DeVito and students Dixon, Tyler Dotson, Beth Stoltz and alumna Kristal Bird Collison. Their presentation provided attendees with the skills, knowledge and background to successfully teach CPR/FA to secondary school students.
- “Behave Yourself!” by Instructor Steve Shelton. The presentation examined how teaching behavior shapes student behavior in physical education.
- “In an Instant,” by Shelton and students Jenny Dunford, Jacob East, Brian Hammons and Marley James. Capturing and channeling students’ natural motivation to move through proven activities was discussed in the presentation.
- “Sports Specialization and Long-Term Athletic Development,” by Associate Professor David Sallee and student Matt Koldewey. The duo spoke about research into sport specialization and the importance of developing a long-term approach to athletic development.
- “Don’t let the teaching end when the game begins,” presented by Poole and Shelton along with students Tyler Dotson and Dixon. The activity presentation shared ideas for developing skillful game players and helping teachers continue teaching even when the game begins.
Many HHP faculty members and students are actively involved with VAHPERD. In September, the department hosted VAHPERD’s regional workshop for the 10th consecutive year. More than 180 current and future professional educators participated in the event. That number includes 134 professionals, 48 of whom were Radford University alumni.
Radford University students are eligible to join VAHPERD for $15. Membership provides such benefits as the ability to attend the organization’s state convention.
— Chad Osborne