PHETE students receive awards at conference


By: Sara Banton
Creative Services Student Writer

PHOTO: VAPHERD award winners

At the 81st annual Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (VAHPERD) convention, PHETE professor Cathy McKay and three students, Victoria El’Azar, Erin Woods and Jenna McMahon, were recognized. McKay received the VAHPERD College/University Health Educator of the Year award which was officially presented during the conference in Virginia Beach.

Being a member of VAHPERD provides students with professional development workshops, career resources and opportunities to network and connect with experienced educators. At the annual convention, members share their knowledge and passion for the health and physical education field through sessions that provide up-to-date information.

El’Azar was selected for the Major of the Year Award. Recipients for this award demonstrate outstanding personal qualities, high ideals, good scholarship and professional ethics.

Woods received the Graduate Scholarship Award, which is granted to graduate students who demonstrate professional qualities and ethics. She was nominated by professor, Susan Nye. Woods felt honored and humbled by the nomination.

“I have been able to learn from the best of the best and if it wasn’t for the PHETE professors going above and beyond every day, the PHETE program wouldn’t have the outstanding reputation that it does,” Woods said.

Woods credits the combination of her experiences, work ethic and commitment to student growth as the reason she was nominated for this award. With her goal to become a physical education and health teacher, this award emphasizes the passion she has for her studies and teaching.

“This award has motivated me to continue working hard every day and has showed me how important it is to always be dedicated in your studies,” Woods said.

At the convention, McMahon was recognized for the Frances Mays Award. This award is for an undergraduate student who exemplifies the qualities and ethics for which Mays was known for. The student must also be a member of VAHPERD and the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America.

“It was so rewarding to be nominated in the first place and then actually getting the award for Virginia was incredible,” McMahon said. “It gave me the satisfaction of having worked so hard and now it’s been acknowledged. It’s been really nice to be rewarded for all the hard work that I’ve been putting in.”

McMahon volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club, Overcoming Barriers and Project CLIMB. She also works as an in-home attendant for two children with autism. The award gave her the confidence to accept a position on the board of directors for VAHPERD and SHAPE America as a student representative.

“Receiving this award helped me realize that maybe I am really good at what I’m doing,” McMahon said. “If I wasn’t at JMU, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity.”

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2019

Last Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2019

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