Over the last few years, Castleton State College has been accomplishing many things to be proud of from an increase in students to countless new academic and athletic buildings. Now the school has something else to brag about: being the first school in Vermont to offer health education as a major.
John Feenick, head of the Physical Education Department, said he really pushed for this program knowing it would be unique and make Castleton stand out.
The Physical Education Department is divided up into three concentrations; athletic training, physical education and sports administration. But now with the new health education program, “students can earn their K-12 teaching licensure and ideally work in schools as a health teacher,” according to Katy Culpo coordinator of the new program.
Culpo is in charge of getting the program up and running. She says the program will allow students in the Physical Education Department to dual major in another concentration along with health education to make themselves more marketable when applying for a job in the school system.
“It’s an awesome combination,” Culpo said. “It allows them to wear many hats.”
Feenick agrees with Culpo. “Schools hire teachers with dual credentials,” Feenick said. “Having a dual major in health education makes them more marketable.”
Culpo says that students seem excited about the program too. Jordan Dufresne, a junior is a dual major in physical education and health, said he was psyched when he heard Castleton had added the new program.
“I’m excited because it gives me more opportunities in getting a job at a school. A lot of schools look for teachers who have double licensure because they get more bang for their buck. They will only have to hire one new teacher instead of two, saving money in their school budget for other things,” Dufresne said.
Feenick believes that the new program is important because health teachers are vital in educating the youth. There is poor health all over the country, and health care is expensive. However, health education can teach kids ways to live a health life, he said.
“Health teachers are important because they are the ones teaching our children about healthy, safe choices. Not only about being physically active, proper nutrition, and sex education, but also how to prevent unintentional injuries, how to deal with deaths and tragedies, and personal health,” Dufresne said.
The program is only in its first year, but Feenick and Culpo expect it to really gain popularity in the next few years.
And because Castleton is the only school to offer the major in Vermont, Feenick hopes it will draw in more prospective students to the Castleton Physical Education Department