Children First: How a Valley PE teacher is inspiring kids to stay active

Jose Luis Espino loves teaching students the endless possibilities sports can have in someone's life.
PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Physical Education teacher Jose Luis Espino, better known as Louie, at Summit Charter Intermediate Academy in Porterville, is in his 4th year teaching.

When the COVID pandemic hit in 2020, he had to find a way to keep his students motivated and active virtually.

"It's me and my aide. One of us would be working out with the students, and the other would be giving feedback. A lot of times, students did not have their camera on, so one thing we did was tell students that as long as we could see a part of you, like your arm or leg working out with us, you will get participation points," he says.

Students returned to in-person learning almost a year ago.

Although they are back to regular PE classes, 8th-grade students Danika Sanchez and Josiah Bell say they learned a lot about the importance of staying active and how simple it can be from home.

"Mr. Espino does have that trust with us. He has that person to person. He made me feel like I wasn't doing it for the class but more like I wanted to do it so that was very special," says Bell.

Espino's motivation continued in the classroom, and as an athlete himself, he loves teaching students the endless possibilities sports can have in someone's life.

"It's not so much the sport, it's more about allowing the students to realize there are other ways to be active through life. In the end, we want them to have lifelong activities they can do."

Activities both Sanchez and Bell explored and learned to appreciate.

"I kind of liked volleyball and soccer. Both are pretty fun," says Bell.

Adds Sanchez: "My main sport is softball and at home I tried to take everything Mr. Espino taught me. And my second sport is basketball. And I wasn't going to try out got soccer but he got me too and now I am having fun."

A feeling Espino hopes all of his students will have at some point.

Regardless of the activity, he just wants to encourage his students to dream big and stay active.

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