Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Trinity School’s ‘Day in Motion’ links Gonzaga University with grateful students

from Trinity School, Spokane

(From the Feb. 26, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

The Spokane community has a unique relationship connecting two entities that is a well kept secret, but an outstanding effort in service and comradeship between Catholic education and higher education.

Dr. Diane “Doc” Tunnell, Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Sport and Physical Education at Gonzaga University, has become a friend to Trinity. Coupled with her dedication to Trinity’s mission, Doc has been instrumental in the success of a fundraiser, and more importantly, planted a seed of hope in children, many of whom are poor and at-risk.

Approximately 12 years ago, Dr. Tunnell, was approached to assist with the activity portion of “Day in Motion.” Doc became the contact person and envisioned an opportunity for her Physical Education students to practice some real world experience in working with young students.

Early on, Doc mainly planned and coordinated all of the “Day in Motion” activities. The event was held at the school with both facility and weather being the challenges, especially during the month of March. The years progressed, and with the years came a role shift for Doc and her students. The physical education majors became the planners and coordinators, under Doc’s supervision. Volunteers were found to assist, but the actual implementation happened with students.

In 2006, Doc and her Gonzaga University friends found an avenue which brought Day in Motion to the University site. This provided further opportunities and opened the doors to new activities such as a mini health fair. With Doc’s lead, another member of the department coordinated the health portion, and Doc coordinated the physical education portion. This health fair is currently a major project for Gonzaga’s Introduction to Health Class and the physical education portion is presently under the auspices of the Physical Activity Lab Class.

The actual “Day in Motion” begins in the school with students obtaining sponsors for their time “in motion.” These sponsors are similar to a fund-run; students are encouraged with prizes and weekly assemblies. The event itself is 1.5 hours per grade level (Pre-K-Grade 6). All students spend 45 minutes in specially-designed physical activity and 45 minutes learning about developmentally appropriate health concepts. As leaders in the school, the seventh and eighth graders are treated to a 30-40 minute campus tour, a luncheon in their honor, and then 45 minutes of physical activity. Aside from the actual activity, the day is also “in motion” with buses traveling back and forth from Trinity Catholic School to the university.

Other individuals from Doc’s Gonzaga University family of volunteers include: Dr. Boyd Foster, who has been instrumental in assisting in the planning of activities; Dr. Karen Rickel, health education, who helps coordinate the health portion; Dr. Jeff Reed, recently retired from the K-12 educational system; Kristen Kavon coordinates the luncheon and plays with the kids.

Kathy Casey has volunteered to videotape the day’s activities and transfer it to CD. Pattie Buller was the first health fair instructor and continues to be a great asset.

Dr. Jon Sunderland, always supportive of Trinity and the “Day in Motion” concept, has provided monies for supplies, and his office funded the seventh-eighth grade luncheon. As current Dean of the School of Education, it is an honor for Trinity students to have been so blessed by Dr. Sunderland and his Gonzaga University colleagues.

The final “secret” in this relationship between Trinity and Gonzaga is a Physical Education program for the primary grade students.Doc designed an opportunity for her university students and brought a formal Physical Education program to the school for grades 1-4 one day a week. Without this effort, budget constraints would keep Trinity from having a formal PE program.

Presently, Doc finds volunteers from the Gonzaga student community. These are not necessarily students in Physical Education, but students who are interested in working with youth. These college age students, usually three-five of them, arrive at Trinity on Thursdays ready to spend the afternoon with grades 1-4, both in the gym or outside on the playground. It is evident that these young people have experienced “the diamond in the heart of Spokane, known as Trinity School,” and they share Doc’s enthusiasm for children, physical activities, and service to the community.

This year’s “Day in Motion” will be held on Wednesday, March 4. Trinity’s goal is $16,000. If you are interested in sponsoring a child who may need the support, please contact Trinity Catholic School at 327-9369 and they will connect you with a student in need. The school address is 1306 W. Montgomery Spokane 99205.

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