Physical education summer program going strong after 2 decades

Charelle Johnson, left, presents Penny Slagle with a $600 donation from Bruin E&P Operating LLC to support the Williston Public School District No. 1 physical education summer program.

A donation from an oil production company is going to support the summer physical education program in Williston Public School District No. 1.

The program, which was started by Penny Slagle and Kim Bekkedahl more than 20 years ago, gives students entering ninth through 12th grades an opportunity to earn a physical education credit during the summer.

On Thursday, July 11, the program got a $600 donation from Bruin E&P Operating LLC. The money will be used to make sure students have safety vests and helmets so they can participate in the program.

Here are some things to know about the program.

Tremendous growth

The first year, there were 14 students enrolled in the summer program. This year, there were two sessions with a total of 150 students.

Students earn credit

The 12-week course can take the place of a semester of physical education at the high school level. Students in North Dakota have to take two semesters of physical education, so the summer program frees them up to take different courses during the school year.

Course doesn’t just stay in town

On one day of the course, students go down to the South Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and hike in the Badlands. After the hike, the class spends the afternoon in Medora. Students also explore different activities in Williston, ranging from biking to clay target shooting at Painted Woods shooting range.

Physical education is the core

Not only are students active throughout the day, they’re also active in between sessions and before and after the 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. class time.

Students have to have a bike, because they use that to travel between sessions. That means they also must have a helmet and safety vest. The donation from Bruin will help make sure students have access to the needed safety equipment so they can participate.

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