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Briarwood Elementary PE teacher Chant Stuewe honored with statewide award

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Briarwood Elementary PE teacher Chant Stuewe participates in an activity with students. He was recently named the recipient of the Wayne Osness Honor Award. 

As a high school student, Chant Stuewe got a job at a Topeka YMCA to earn a little extra cash, working at the front desk and with youth sports. He credits that interaction with putting him on the path toward becoming a physical education teacher. 

“I just I guess those two went hand in hand and I love teaching the young ones and coaching as well,” he said. “I just wanted to do something that involved athletics and working with kids.” 

He also gives partial credit to his elementary school PE teacher. While he might not have realized it at the time, Stuewe said she inspired him a lot as well. 

‘THERE’S NEVER A DULL MOMENT’ 

Now, after 22 years at Briarwood Elementary as the PE teacher, he’s been nominated for and won a statewide award. It’s called the Wayne Osness Honor Award, which is given by the Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance to individuals who contribute to and give back to the profession, Stuewe said. The award is named for the former University of Kansas chair of the Exercise Physiology Laboratory in the Department and lifelong educator.

His career started out in Topeka with USD 501 where he spent a year doing adaptive physical education for students across the school district. After that, he spent a few years in the Piper school district and eventually made his way to Briarwood Elementary in Olathe. He also coaches basketball at Blue Valley Southwest High. 

Elementary school PE can be a tough gig sometimes, but he says “there’s never a dull moment.” Additionally, Stuewe said he hopes to instill a philosophy for activity — it’s not necessarily about getting the kiddos in shape, but helping them find their own way to a healthy life.

“I want to teach them how to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Stuewe said. 

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH STUDENTS AND FAMILIES 

With a career spanning nearly 30 years, most of which has been spent in one place, Stuewe said he’s in an interesting position. He’s starting to see some of his former students again, but as the parents to his current students. 

“I just love seeing kids that I taught 20 years ago and they're all grown up, in college or have their own families,” he said, “just keeping those relationships.” 

He also lives in the same neighborhood a lot of his students do, which might seem weird, he said, but gives him even more opportunity to impact his students. 

“I mean, we've got really good kids at Briarwood and good families too,” he said. “It's just building relationships with the kids, and them looking up to you. I really enjoy that.” 

In a pre-COVID-19 year, he would have received his award at the fall KAHPERD conference, but that in-person event didn’t happen this year, Stuewe said. Instead, the award will be presented to him during a school day, possibly in front of a class. 

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