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

St. Aloysius teacher elected to state leadership

by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff

(From the April 8, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

Pete Hanson (IR photo courtesy of Pete Hanson)

The PE teacher at Spokane’s St. Aloysius School for 14 years, Pete Hanson recently became president-elect of the Washington Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (WAHPERD). With more than 5,000 members, this association advocates for its members and promotes health and fitness for students in all schools. The Alliance also promotes and disseminates the best practices, techniques, and strategies of instruction. Hanson will serve one year as president-elect, one year as president, and a third year as past president.

Hanson had already served two positions with WAHPERD when he was asked by the current president, Adrienne Young to run, he said. As President-Elect, he will seek best candidates for Washington Physical Education Teacher of the Year. As Past President, he’ll plan the annual state conference.

This summer, Hanson will travel to Washington, D.C. where he will meet with the 50 other state presidents-elect to discuss advocacy efforts, how to address widespread obesity among school-age children, and research new resources for physical education teachers. At the same time, he will meet with state representatives and the U.S. senators from Washington state. “There is also a small possibility,” Hanson said, “that we will meet with Michelle Obama to discuss her ‘Let’s Move’ campaign to fight obesity.”

He and his wife, Dena, have been married for 26 years. They have two children, Nick, a freshman at the University of Idaho, and Sarah, 16, a junior at Gonzaga Prep.

Hanson grew up in Mercer Island, Wash., the third of seven children. He attended St. Monica School and later graduated from Mercer Island High School, Bellevue Community College, and Eastern Washington University with a B.A. in Recreation. Later, he earned a master’s degree in Teaching from Eastern, and two years ago he received his Principal’s Certification from Gonzaga University.

Looking back on his first career, as a playground leader, recreation leader, and recreation supervisor, Hanson said, “What I found was that in the recreation field the more ... promotions I received the less contact I had with children, and the more ... paperwork I had to complete. I thought that education would be a good fit because in the classroom, or in P.E., my main task would be teaching kids. Teaching kids gives me energy. Their positive outlook, exuberance, honesty and love of movement make teaching awesome!”

Hanson said that he chose to teach in a Catholic school “because my Catholic faith and Catholic life have always been a part of me – the best part. My Catholic faith and prayer life have always allowed me to be my best, selfless person. I love the church, the peace I receive from it, from prayer, from song, from the traditions.”

As a cradle Catholic, some of his earliest memories involve being part of a parish. He was an altar server, was educated by women Religious, and was an active part of the Newman Center at Eastern Washington University while a student there. As an adult, he has served on his parish council, and when he returned to EWU, taught RE at St. Rose Parish in Cheney.

When his wife went through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Seattle, “I think I learned much from sitting in on those classes,” he said.

“I chose to teach in the Catholic school system because I want other kids to have the opportunity to have the peace, the love, the opportunity to feel the community I feel in the Catholic Church,” said Hanson. “It is a gift to teach in the Catholic school system.”

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