Fitness is a big part of daily life at Severn School. From PE classes and recess to sports teams and clubs, being active and outdoors is something we greatly value in every grade. In addition to the proven physical and mental health benefits of exercise, fitness teaches lessons in character, teamwork, perseverance, safe risk-taking, self-confidence, and more. And although we are not physically on campus together, our values haven’t changed. Severn teachers, coaches, and athletic trainers are keeping us healthy and active during remote learning, raising our collective spirits with creativity, commitment, and love for the kids.
Fitness Fun and Special Guests
Students in preschool through 5th grade have alternating weeks of synchronous Zoom PE classes with Ms. Betz Wild and Mr. Mike Glasby. Classes for every grade include cardio and strength workouts with family exercise challenges during the off weeks. As always, our teachers incorporate fun and playfulness into each workout with activities like virtual relay races and games.
Our Lower School PE team also invites special guests to lead group workouts and talk with the kids. Our lower schoolers have been excited to exercise with:
Teel Campus athletic trainer and PE teacher Ms. Michelle Anderson
Griffin Wild, Ms. Wild's son and college baseball player
Athletics Director Mr. Julian Domenech '84 and his son, Kain Domenech ‘19
Varsity lacrosse coach Ms. Kathy Rudkin
Middle School Head Dan Keller and his family
Chris Patrick, Severn parent and director of player development for the Washington Capitals.
Jumpstart Every Day
With Ms. Anderson leading the charge, our entire athletics staff records daily video “jumpstarters” for middle schoolers to complete during break times throughout the day. Ms. Anderson sends these to each advisory group along with modifications for different fitness levels and tips to encourage healthy choices. Students and their families can access all of these resources in the Physical Education & Athletics topics page under their advisory group in mySevern.
Many of our students and teachers record themselves doing these routines to share with each other, building a sense of camaraderie through our screens. And to encourage a little healthy competition, our athletics crew challenged middle schoolers to create their own routines for a chance to win a guest spot in the jumpstarter lineup…and bragging rights, of course! Click here to watch the winning entry.
Support for Our Teams
Each spring athletic team is taking a different approach during remote learning. From synchronous workouts and team meetings on Zoom to sharing resources and words of encouragement, our coaches are making sure that their players feel connected, supported, and ready to hop back in the game. Highlights from the larger program are featured below.
Coach Joe Christie sends out a weekly newsletter to all Severn lacrosse players with offense and defense homework, training video and podcast suggestions, positive messages, and more. He has connected with several alumni to make training videos for the team and encourages the team members themselves to create skill drill videos to include in the newsletter for their peers. To get some spirit-lifting face time, the coaching team meets with the players on Zoom to talk about staying in shape, being ready to play, and what competition might look like this summer and next year.
To motivate the team while supporting a good cause, Coach Kathy Rudkin pledged our players to run one million yards between April 3rd and May 3rd as part of the OneLove Foundation’s #YardsForYeardley challenge to raise awareness about the importance of healthy relationships. Particularly during times of struggle, service can do quite a lot to boost morale and help students focus on something outside of themselves. The team also meets for regular Zoom workouts and shares photos and videos to cheer each other on while providing peer accountability.
Track and Field
In preparation for a possible school closure, our track and field coaches sent a comprehensive set of home workouts to the team during spring break. Since then, Coach Andrew Otero has created additional custom workouts and holds optional Zoom practice twice a week. On May 4th and 11th, Severn track will host two virtual meets for Upper School students, motivating them to be active, take time away from screens, engage in competition, and remain connected to the track and field community. Students can participate in their own neighborhood by tracking their performance with the Athletic.net app.
Taking full advantage of current digital tools for fitness, Teel Campus athletic trainer and PE teacher Mr. Dan Mahoney created a Severn version of TrainHeroic, a fully-customizable strength and conditioning app. Through the app, Mr. Mahoney designs specialized workouts for each team including warm-ups, explosive movements, strength training, stretching, and mobility exercises. He can also provide remote support to individual athletes in much the same way that he does in the fitness center on campus.
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
These are just a few of the ways our teachers, coaches and athletic trainers have gone above and beyond for the health and wellness of our students — we would need pages to showcase every team and every program. And if school closures extend, they will continue to provide the best possible fitness experience for our kids while off campus. Our athletics crew is doing so much more than just keeping everyone active, they are keeping us together. As we continue to face hardships in one form or another during the COVID-19 shutdown, every member of Severn School is doing their part to strengthen our community each day. We can’t stop, we won’t stop — go, Admirals!