Peru, Nebraska – Three Peru State College students and their faculty advisor recently attended the 2022 SHAPE National Convention and Expo. The 136th National Convention was held at the end of April in New Orleans.

The mission of SHAPE America is to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, dance, and sport.

Jackson Tingwald (Ralston), Austin Martin (Falls City), and Brandel Riekenberg (Beatrice), along with Assistant Professor of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Dr. Frank Lynott, attended the four-day event. Tingwald and Riekenberg are both K-12 health and physical education majors and seeking a coaching endorsement. Martin is a K-12 health and physical education and K-12 special education major and is also seeking a coaching endorsement and a minor in theatre. All three are seniors at Peru State.

Tingwald and Martin were both named as a National Major of the Year in Physical Education. SHAPE America president, Terri Drain, the Founder and Coordinator of the Health and Physical Education Collaborative, stated, “The outstanding achievements of future professionals like Jackson and Austin is integral to the future of SHAPE America and our profession.”

As part of their nomination, each included some of their background. Tingwald noted, “It is a great honor to be selected as a Major of the Year by SHAPE America and to have the opportunity to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana, to present research. The research poster that I am co-presenting at the conference with a fellow classmate was created utilizing the most recent research in the field of Health and Physical Education. The title of the research poster is “Three Misconceptions That My Coach Told Me: A Collaborative Autoethnographic Study,” and it focuses on three misconceptions that former coaches had told us throughout our experiences in high school and college athletics. Being able to draw conclusions from our experiences as athletes, along with finding current research that supported the poster’s content, helped us create this research poster.”

Continuing, Tingwald added, “I am grateful to receive this award and recognition from SHAPE America. I am so excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with some of the best educators in the field of Health & Physical Education. Attending these sessions will allow me to increase my knowledge on classroom management strategies, activities to increase moderate to vigorous physical activity, student engagement strategies, and so much more. I plan to use the information and strategies that I learn from the 2022 SHAPE America National Convention & Expo immediately when I get back into the classroom. I couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what the conference has in store for me!”

Martin stated, “I worked at a Boy Scout camp named Camp Geiger in the summers. I enlisted and served in the United States Marine Corps from 2012 - 2017. I taught martial arts and basic urban skills to over 200 service members. I have since returned to working at Camp Geiger as a Cope Instructor and as the Program Director for Camp Geiger. I have been part of the executive board team for the National Society for Leadership and Success as well as an executive board member for the Peru Theatre Company.

Additionally, Martin noted, “I have worked with special needs students in Auburn, and have submitted two research posters for the Peru State 2020 Research and Creativity Expo and was accepted. The titles of the posters were, "Recommended Amount of Time Spent in Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity in the Physical Education Classroom" (PE) and "Are People That Eat Healthy and Exercise Happier Than Those That Do Not". I have volunteered at the Team Building Day at Nebraska City Lourdes High School and have volunteered at a Family Literacy Event and the Bobcat Sports Camp. I am looking forward to being the COPE Director next summer at Camp Geiger and being an effective physical educator.”

In conclusion, Martin said, “This is an honor to receive this award from a prestigious organization. This award helps to show the hard work and determination that I strive for. This will help with bringing further credibility to my work and continue to push me to strive to be my best and to pursue excellence.”

As noted in Tingwald’s comments, he and Martin presented a research poster during the conference.

Riekenberg was part of a student panel which included students from North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, Parker Elementary School, and Blackhills State University. Their presentation was entitled, “The Path We Will make: The Future of Physical Education.” Their session was designed to gain insight on what emerging leaders see as the future of physical education programs. They discussed the importance of overcoming barriers of virtual learning, finding resources, and searching for a job. The session was designed to distinguish the fears and excitement about becoming a future physical educator.”

On attending the convention, Riekenberg stated, “Overall, the conference was a phenomenal experience. I learned about new strategies, tools, equipment, and all kinds of neat stuff that can be used in a health and physical education classroom. Being able to present at the SHAPE conference was super cool and I learned a lot talking with other teachers and students about the future of the profession. The city of New Orleans was awesome to experience, and I will admit the food was a 10/10.” 

Dr. Lynott was also part of a panel. He collaborated with four individuals from South Dakota State University on a presentation entitled, “Health Education, Creating Environments with Active Learning and Student Engagement.” The description of the presentation read – Do you want to increase participation and student learning in your health class? Active learning is an approach to instruction that involves actively engaging students with the course material through discussions, problem-solving, case studies, role plays and other methods. By using skills-based health education methods, we will showcase sample lessons and active-learning tactics to maximize student participation and ensure student learning.

The group’s trip was funded through the College’s SEE (Student Engagement Enhancement) Grant with additional financial support coming from the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the School of Education.

About SHAPE America

SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators is the nation’s largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals. Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our National Standards for K-12 Physical Education serve as the foundation for well-designed physical education programs across the country. We provide programs, resources, and advocacy to support health and physical educators at every level, from preschool to university graduate programs. For more information, visit