SATURDAY, NOV. 17, 2007

Gym is filled with Stars

Kahleb Rubinski, 10, assumes the stance he calls “the worm.” Lying face down in a push-up position on a blue and yellow mat, he awaits the arrival of the double Dutch jump-rope. As the rope’s loop comes around, Kahleb’s entire body leaps in the air and successfully clears the rope while remaining in the push-up position.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Katie Ferris, Broadway Elementary health and fitness instructor. “Only a couple kids can do that trick.”

It’s a typical morning for Ferris, who, three days a week, coaches her Broadway Stars, an extracurricular jump-rope club.

“It’s an individual sport,” Ferris said. “Each student can feel successful in their own way.”

On this Monday, the fourth-graders fill more than half the gym working on their skills. Morgan Crosby and Jaedyn Starkey pass the ends of the rope back and forth to each other while jumping together in a single rope.

Crosby, who has participated in the club since second grade, beat the district’s record with 500 continuous jumps in double Dutch.

The club begins by practicing single-rope skills. After warming up, the students take turns in the Double Dutch rope performing their tricks. The double Dutch rope is comprised of two long ropes turning simultaneously.

Sometimes, Ferris brings out the giant jump rope, which is 30 feet long, to see how many students can jump at the same time. The current record is 10 students.

Ferris encourages her students to set personal goals and make up their own tricks. Once a trick is mastered, the student enters the center circle and shows off their new skill.

“It makes them feel important because they came up with something on their own,” Ferris said. “I tell them this is somewhere they can show off.”

Over the years, Ferris has experienced many personal success stories. The most memorable happened the first year she joined Broadway Elementary.

Chloe Rowe, then a second-grader, was having a hard time learning double Dutch. After several attempts, she jumped 75 in a row.

“Something just clicked, and she got her rhythm,” Ferris said. “Everyone learns in different ways at different times.”

“It made me feel so good to get that far,” Rowe remembers. “My dad didn’t believe me. He came the next morning to talk to my jump-rope teacher. He was amazed I could do it.”

Ferris designed the club in 2003 for the sole purpose of giving the kids a fun, healthy option while teaching at Progress Elementary. The idea came after she participated in the American Heart Association’s Jump-Rope for Heart.

In 2005, Ferris transferred to Broadway Elementary and brought her jump-rope club with her.

“I just have a heart for the kids,” Ferris explains. “Especially at this school. A lot of kids don’t sign up for rec sports because they can’t afford it. This is one thing they can do for free and have fun.”

The only jump-rope club in Central Valley, the Broadway Stars originally met once a week. Since then, the club has doubled in size every year to its current size of 60. This growth caused Ferris to split the different grades up into different days.

“I don’t want to turn anyone away,” Ferris said. “I guess I can grow as much as our space allows.”

The Broadway Stars perform every other week during school assemblies. They have also performed at CV Days at the Spokane Valley Mall and Valleyfest.

“When you see their smiles it makes it all worth it,” Ferris said. “It’s good for them and you feel like you’ve made a difference.”


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