UCM grads mold the future through fitness

The sports and recreation option for the physical education program was added in fall 2019 and two recent University of Central Missouri graduates are taking advantage of this opportunity.

“I think UCM has the best program in the area,” Kailey Deatherage said. “Our professors played a huge part because they care about us as individuals instead of just caring about a grade.”

Deatherage is currently a PE teacher in Kansas City, Kan. at Welborn Elementary School teaching kindergarten through fifth grade.

“I knew I wanted to do something related to fitness, and Dr. Kenneth Bias introduced me to teaching because he was saying how much of an impact you can create on kids every day” Deatherage said. “The kids are only 30 percent of the population now but they are 100 percent part of our future.”

Deatherage said being an elementary PE teacher is definitely a lot of work, but she believes this option has prepared her for all the situations she’s gone through. She believes how she’s handled the kids has a lot to do with everything she learned through the sports and recreation option.

“I am currently working on my master’s now but I would like to keep pursuing the physical education career,” she said. “My goal is to keep teaching for the next five or six years, but eventually I would like to pursue a doctorate in this degree.”

Deatherage said she hopes to eventually end up teaching at a university just like Bias has done.

Like Deatherage, Alex Richard is working as an elementary PE teacher. He teaches in the Park Hill School District in Kansas City, Mo.

“I felt like I was 100 percent prepared to go into my field after the option I chose,” Richard said. “UCM did a really good job with helping me prepare for life and with my teaching and instructional skills.”

Richard said he always knew he wanted to be a teacher, and after talking with professors about decisions on what he could do, he knew this was the right path for him.

“I’m at a really good school and I love the fact I’ve helped transition their program into an actual physical education program,” Richard said. “Before it wasn’t much of a program. The teachers sort of just rolled the ball out and let the kids do whatever.”

After he completes his master’s degree, he says he hopes to one day become a principal, as well as teach at the collegiate level.

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