For the 2015-16 school year, a couple of students transferred from Margaret R. Brown Elementary to Seymour-Redding Elementary.
Leaving Brown meant they no longer could be a part of its jump rope team, the Brown Bouncing Bears, which started more than 25 years ago.
But after talking to physical education teacher Allison Bowers, Redding became the second Seymour school to offer a jump rope club. During the second semester, the Hopping Hornets were led by Bowers and three other teachers.
First-grade teacher Ashley Murphy was among those who helped, and she and Bowers led it again during the first semester of this school year.
Fliers were sent home with third- through fifth-graders to let parents know how the club works and what would be expected of the kids. Students then had an opportunity to sign up during PE.
The first 30 students to sign up were allowed to join last year, while there were 33 students this school year. Students had to buy a jump rope and a T-shirt last year, but those expenses were covered this year.
In the beginning, Murphy said the experienced jumpers helped the newcomers and learned advanced tricks during morning practices twice a week.
The club members were able to show off what they learned during an ISTEP+ pep rally for third- through fifth-graders, and they also performed for kindergartners through second-graders. The 15-minute shows included a group routine and 12 small group routines, using a single long rope and a double dutch long rope.
“By the time we got to the performances, they were all doing great, and they could all jump with us and keep up with the routine and do what we were doing,” Murphy said.
At the end of the school year, the club also taught kindergartners how to jump rope.
Once the club started back this school year, the students practiced for a half-hour after school three days a week.
Murphy said some of the team members from last year returned, and they blended well with the newcomers.
“Their levels weren’t quite as far apart because we had a lot more that had done it previously, so a lot more of them at least could jump and were working on basic skills, basic tricks,” she said.
The returnees were good mentors for the new members, she said.
“None of them were trying to show off or show them up or anything,” Murphy said. “They were leaders as far as helping teach them and helping show them what they needed to do or practicing tricks with the kids who were new. The kids at the beginning still had to learn how to jump at first and were really nervous to learn it, but they picked it up pretty quick.”
Read the full story in Wednesday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.