A group of 26 McNary Heights Elementary students recently got to tour the Nike headquarters in Portland and meet some well-known athletes. The students visited Nike on Friday, November 4, but the surprise was meeting Galen Rupp, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and American record holder; Mo Farrah, Great Britain’s four-time gold medalist; and former Olympian and current coach Albert Salazar.
The students were participants in McNary USA, a nutrition/track class that was organized by McNary’s P.E. teacher, Brandt Lind. Lind developed a curriculum where the students not only had a rigorous work-out routine, but by incorporating STEM concepts they also learned how health, nutrition and the brain work together to benefit their body from a run.
McNary USA started out with 40 students under the direction of Francisco Garcia and Max Bedolla, who both teach at McNary. Several students dropped out, but many had a deep desire to learn and do as much as possible with running. During the eight-week session, the class participated in four events, including the final Poplar Run at the Boardman Tree Farm.
Ridings said that is when she and the teachers felt they should do something big for the end of the class and to recognize the students’ hard work. “It was felt their dedication and attitude deserved a significant reward so Mr. Lind reached out to Nike to discuss a tour. STEM Academy was happy to make it happen for them,” Ridings said.
In addition to the tour and meeting the athletes, the students were able to take a lap around the Nike track, encouraged by Coach Salazar. They had planned to do a community clean up during lunch at a local park, but due to unforeseen circumstances were unable to. Beaverton Police Officer Lamb stayed with the group, seeing them safely off to the next leg of their adventure to the tune of the McNary Heights fight song. Plans are being made to do a clean-up activity locally. Following some fun at Pump It Up indoor obstacle course and a stop for dinner, the students arrived home two hours later than expected. “I cannot express how very proud I am of this group of kids and sincerely thank their parents. Not a single complaint the entire trip, very respectful, very enthusiastic, very appreciative,” Ridings said.