By Wendy Holdren
The United States Tennis Association presented a Park Middle School health and physical education teacher with its “W.Va. Teacher of the Year” award Wednesday.
Angela Culicerto, who has been teaching for 12 years, received the award for her dedication to bringing tennis to Park.
“I’m flattered,” Culicerto said. “I know there are lots of people who are trying to promote tennis programs in schools.”
She said she attended a conference in Charleston and she knew she wanted to bring the sport to her middle school students.
Culicerto teaches 6th, 7th and 8th graders and she said with obesity rates, it is crucial that all students be exposed to health education.
“I want to provide them with the knowledge, the skills and the confidence it takes to be healthy.”
She said if children find an activity that they can become involved in at a young age, they are likely to continue enjoying it through adulthood.
Tennis was first implemented during physical education classes, but then Culicerto began the Mini Mountaineer After School Program.
“It sparked an interest for some of the students. It gives them something to do after school.”
USTA Tennis Service Representative Kyle Hoffman presented Culicerto with the award Wednesday.
“Congratulations to Angie. She’s one of the first to participate in our Mini Mountaineer pilot program,” he said.
There were 27 participants during the program last year with hopes to double that number this spring.
Students pay $30 for online registration and they receive a ball, a racket and instruction.
Culicerto, along with many other tennis players in the area, instructs students after school.
“It’s nice to have the community be active with the kids as well,” Hoffman said.
Culicerto was also presented with the Raleigh County Schools Teacher of the Year award in October.
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