Early morning skate

Three mornings a week before school, when it’s barely light outside, more than 100 teenagers are lacing up their skates at the Oakland Ice Center. They come of their own free will, even if it means showing up at 6:45 a.m. — more than an hour before they need to be at Oakland Technical High School.

photo by Laura A. Oda/Staff

Kelley Haskins, a physical education teacher at Oakland Tech, started the before-school P.E. class this fall. She said she worried that she wouldn’t meet the 35-student minimum, but her roster now includes 115 names.

I visited the class this morning with a photographer, and watched the teenagers swizzle, slide and speed around the rink. Many of them started with little skating experience, Haskins said, but that has changed.

“It’s fun and relaxing, just to be on the ice,” Tom Geissler, 18, told me. “You are pretty much in a different world here.”

The mustachioed high school senior said he gets up well before 5 a.m. on skating days so he can catch the 5:50 bus from 14th and International (People like him make me feel incredibly lazy). On the weekends, he even works at the rink, as a skate guard.

We’ll have a story in the paper next week about the program, which is raising money to buy 100 sets of hockey gear. Local police and firefighters face off at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 6 in a “Guns and Hoses” hockey game — a fundraiser for the cause.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Andrea Gershwin

    In my role as a BTSA coach (Beginning Teacher Support) I have had the pleasure of working with Kelley Haskins for over a year now. The success of the ice class is a perfect example of Kelley’s energy and enthusiasm towards her students. With all of the negative politics that often permeates news related to OUSD, it’s nice to read about one of the many dedicated faculty that so often go unacknowledged. Keep up the good work!

  • Nora Cody

    Thanks for covering this terrific program. My son participates and not only enjoys this new twist on P.E. but is now urging the whole family to go to the rink so he can show us some tricks. Another good thing about Oakland Tech — teachers like Kelley Haskins who take advantage of opportunities like this, with a principal who encourages and supports them. Oh, and by the way, there are volunteer firefighters there every morning to help work with the kids. Go Oakland! Nora Cody, Oakland Tech parent.

  • Tracy

    What a great idea! I’m so happy that OUSD students are ice skating-that is very cool.

  • franco nigro

    Hi Kelly and Happy Thanksgiving!

    I think you ROCK ! Kudos for the ice skating idea; I just might try my luck at it one day !

    I’m oroud to be your new colleague,

    Franco Nigro
    P.S. You know I’m starting Bocce Ball in my Italian Classes on the field, don’t you? Come and join us some day when you see us having a ball ‘Italian style’ on our field!!

    Ciao bella !