PEPI focuses on being good role models for young kids through academics and games. (Photo used by permission of Pexels)
PEPI– or Physical Education Pupil Instructor– is a unique class offered for upperclassmen at Leesville. PEPI specializes in forming relationships with students in elementary school through games and activities. The class goes into elementary classrooms and teaches a physical activity such as capture the flag or other team games which is then played during recess.
Four times a week, PEPI students visit classrooms in groups of three for 30 minutes. The remaining day of the week is spent planning for future visits in Mrs. Lamers’ classroom, the PEPI advisor. To take the year-long class, an application is required in which to meet several requirements.
Andrew Carboni is a senior in the class. Via email, Carboni said that over the application process, “[He] was going into the class expecting to be able to work with kids in person.” Currently, the interactive class is completely online where there have been several hiccups.
Complications with the kids possibly not being able to spell or type, and internet connectivity issues are just some of the problems that the older students have been solving.“The past three weeks, our class has been working on leadership activities, brainstorming and testing games and lesson plans, and coming up with groups for when we go out and actually begin to teach,” Carboni said.
The collaborative work between the students has been one big effort of trying to adapt and rethink normal teaching methods suitable for remote learning. “So far, we’ve only been planning lessons in class, but next week we’re going to observe our classes and eventually we will start teaching them,” said Annika Jensen, senior PEPI student, through an email interview.
If students return to school, Mrs. Lamers says students will play games that follow social distancing guidelines and have no equipment to minimize the possibility of COVID-19 spreading.
Despite the challenges this year has faced, Jensen and Carboni remain optimistic. “The situation is out of [our] hands, and we’ve got to play the cards we’ve been dealt,” Carboni said.