Kelli Hingerton, a junior at the University of Rhode Island, has a passion for sports and athletics. She is on the women’s Division I rowing team but also has a passion for teaching children.

Hingerton began this semester after coming from Hawaii where she taught children how to surf and immediately began her Providence internship in Rhode Island. As a kinesiology major, Hingerton is working for Special Olympics and teaching children athleticism.

Besides waking up at 4 a.m., for rowing practice, on Mondays Hingerton’s job involves paperwork, team registration and entering athletes into databases. Hingerton skis with the Special Olympic athletes. “I mostly work on turns and course” with the athletes, Hingerton said in an enthusiastic voice.

By Wednesdays, Hingerton teaches in a local school doing adaptive physical education which is whatever the activity is for that particular day.

Courtesy: Kelli Hingerton
Courtesy: Kelli Hingerton

Thursdays are Hingerton’s favorite days as she gets to play and coach basketball. She emphasized that she enjoys teaching teamwork and “sharing way beyond their years. It’s incredible. They are fantastic,” Hingerton said. “Watching them score, just the joy they get, I feel so proud of them.”

Hingerton expressed that the hardest times are when a child acts up. “You have to ignore them, I feel awful about it but it’s how they have to learn,” she said.

Hingerton also mentioned how it is difficult being a Division I athlete and having what amounts to be a full time job. Most days she goes to 5:30 a.m., practice and then heads home from her internship at 9:30 a.m.

Besides taking one online class, Hingerton is busy living life more in the real world than she does during a normal semester. Hingerton gets to relax on Fridays but weekends are full of teaching the Special Olympic athletes bowling skills snowshoeing.

Most days Hingerton works with the kids for roughly five hours going over skills, competing and meeting their needs individually. She gets to know each child personally very well, forming a great friendship.

Hingerton will be sad when she has to leave the children after the spring semester but she hopes to leave with new friends and bright future of as a children’s physical education teacher.