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Adapted PE Students Reach for the Sky

Thanks in part to an APS Education Foundation's Horizon Award, special needs students are exposed to a variety of activities including rock climbing walls, swimming, kayaking and bowling.

October 22, 2013

Students in adapted PE classes at Hayes and Wilson middle schools reached for the sky Monday. Literally.

The students faced their fears and tackled the rock climbing wall at a park near the Manzano Mesa Community Center in Southeast Albuquerque. Attached to ropes and cheered on by teachers and aides, some students took a few triumphant steps up the wall while others scrambled all the way to the top.

And then there were the repeat performers whose jubilant smiles radiated from atop the rock each time they reached their goal.

Students climbed the portable rock wall, provided by the city of Albuquerque Outdoor Recreation Department, to help build courage, confidence and character, said teacher Doris Merzweiler.

The Adapted PE Program at Hayes and Wilson, which serves 36 special needs students, was able to take the field trip - and will be able to afford several more this school year - thanks to a $2,250 Horizon Award that Merzweiler received from the APS Education Foundation. Other activities planned for this school year include swimming, bowling, kayaking and a trip to Hinkle Family Fun Center.

"The goal of this program is to help these special needs students feel comfortable and welcomed in these facilities out of the school day," said Merzweiler. "To promote daily physical activity for a lifetime would be the ultimate accomplishment."

The APS Horizon campaign is supported in part through United Way donations.

Others that have assisted the Adapted PE Program include APS Transportation, the APS Special Education Department, UNM, Holiday Bowl, Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center, New Mexico Kayak and middle school Principals Tracy Straub and Ann Piper.

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