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Hall of Famers Des and Jay Reading Inspire Students at Earhart Magnet School


Earhart Environmental Magnet School was the recipient of a PDGA COVID-19 Physical Education Relief Grant. Photo: Trey Thompson

For the Earhart Environmental Magnet School in Wichita, Kansas, whose school motto is, “No Child Left Indoors,” Earth Day is a big deal.

That’s why when disc golf was chosen as a featured activity for this year’s Earth Day celebration, Trey Thompson, a first-year teacher at Earhart, reached out to Des and Jay Reading to invite them to participate.

Since 2019, Des Reading, a four-time professional disc golf world champion and Disc Golf Hall of Famer, has led the PDGA’s Youth and Education department with the mission to encourage and create competitive opportunities for junior disc golf while holding emphasis on learning, playing, and enjoying the sport. Her husband, Jay, also a Disc Golf Hall of Famer, is a founding member of the non-profit Educational Disc Golf Experience (EDGE), which has brought disc golf programming and age-appropriate equipment to millions of students worldwide.      

The 9-hole disc golf course on the Earhart campus was installed in the Fall of 2020. Crafted by the Dynamic Discs Course Design Team, it features a great mix of shot shaping holes with two tee pads for each of the nine holes and an average hole length of 102 feet from the shorts and 195 feet from the longs.

Thompson seized the opportunity of the newly installed course and, with support from Principal Matt Malget, formed a 4th and 5th grade disc golf club. With over 20 students participating, the club meets every Tuesday and Thursday after school for an hour and would eventually like to have a competitive team. The school also hopes to sponsor students that show a competitive interest in regional disc golf tournaments.

In February 2021, Thompson applied for and received a PDGA Youth and Education COVID-19 Relief grant, which provided additional equipment and resources to fuel the school’s disc golf initiative.

“We are always looking for ways to get kids outside.” Thompson said when he found out about the grant award. “Disc golf is one of those opportunities that we want our community to have. This grant will allow us to add additional access points to disc golf for our students, staff, families, and surrounding community.”

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The Readings’ clinic headlined a fabulous Earhart Earth Day Everyday Celebration and was open to Earhart students, families, faculty, as well as local business owners and the surrounding communities. All participants were able to take part in the activities thanks to the PDGA Youth and Education grant and through the generosity of grant partners EDGE and the Disc Golf Pro Tour. Their donations of lightweight Aviars meant that even the youngest members of the club had appropriate discs and that there were enough discs for all in attendance.

The clinic included a putting session, basic instruction, line work with feedback, relay games and drills found in the EDGE disc golf curriculum. The group was broken up into two groups: each group would split time between free play on the course and attending the putting session, allowing for a more focused experience.

And of course, the day ended with the students’ favorite activities: a CTP contest and the Ring of Fire.

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