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One-wheel drive: After-school program hosts unicycle class

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Hard work is paying off for students at the Chilton County Children’s Club as they learn a unique skill — how to ride a unicycle.

Instructor Pam Koons said the class had been meeting once a week for five weeks, and students have made real progress.

“It’s to teach them balance and coordination and determination — because it takes a lot,” Koons said.

In the midst of frustrating falls, Koons said the students have encouraged each other and pushed through.

“They really are doing so much better,” Koons said.

Koons said the afterschool program had been brainstorming ideas for additional activities to offer, so she suggested having a unicycle class.

“I did it when I was young, rode in parades and stuff,” Koons said.

The plan is to continue offering the class in future semesters. Students get a chance to pick new

activities at the start of each semester.

“I hope they get really good and … can be in a parade,” Koons said.

Koons said the program received 10 unicycles donated by Gwin Elementary School in Hoover and Coach Davis Stephenson.

Helmets, knee pads and elbow pads were available to keep students from getting hurt if they fell.

Holly Pate, a fourth-grade student at Clanton Intermediate, said she wanted to participate because “I just thought it would be a fun idea.” She said she was interested in trying new things.

“The people are really nice, and I’m just having fun,” Holly said.

Jordan Simon, a fourth-grade student at CIS, said he has enjoyed “riding an actual unicycle.”

“I wanted to see if I could do it,” CIS student Kaiden Owen said of his reason for joining the class.

The thing he has enjoyed the most is being with his friends.

The class has focused on the basics — balance and how to stay on.

“We haven’t tried turning yet,” Holly said.

Jordan said “riding it and not falling” was the most difficult part.

“Look straight, keep your balance by keeping your hands out and leaning forward,” Jordan said.

Kaiden said balancing was the most challenging part, but he has been able to do it by “staying straight.”

Shannon Ricks, who assists with the class, said students stayed near the walls until they built up some confidence and balance. She said adults assisting with the class then held students up “to give them a feel for it, then they just kind of took off.”

“They’ve really enjoyed it and Mr. (Larry) and Mrs. Koons have been great,” Ricks said.

Chilton County Children’s Club is an Alabama 21st Century Community Learning Center. The after-school program is open students from to all Chilton County schools and is a partnership between Clanton Elementary School, YMCA of Chilton County and Chilton County Board of Education.

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Additional photos are available at https://www.shelbycountyphotos.com/Events-and-Happenings.