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A bunch of Woodmere Elementary School P.E. students paraded up Sandy Boulevard with the Unipiper this year: WITH VIDEO

DAVID F. ASHTON - Both Woodmere fifth grade students - and unicycle riders - Jimmie and Jordan pose for a photo with their retiring team coach, Jim Stultz. There are many forms of physical education and recreation provided for grade school kids. But the inimitable — and long-standing — "Unicycle Class" at Woodmere Elementary School in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood is really unique.

Actually, these talented kids don't stand at all, they roll — and in a big way. In fact, these unicyclists led the Portland Rose Festival Junior Parade on June 8, riding along with its Grand Marshall this year, the Unipiper.

A few days before that, students at Woodmere, along with, previewed their abilities at an assembly held in the school gym on June 3rd.

The poignant thing about the gala parade performance on Sandy Boulevard was that this was their last for their retiring P.E. teacher and Unicycle Club Coach, Jim Stultz (who, we should make clear, is NOT the Unipiper).

"At the end of the school year I'm retiring after 28 years there at Woodmere, and 33 years overall in education," Stultz announced before the June 3rd assembly.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Kind of like dancing on unicycles, these two demonstrate pair riding. "What's kept me here has been our great community and our staff," remarked Stultz. "I've always felt like the school has been home for me; and our P.E. program is really supported by the parents and the administration, making this an easy place to work."

He said the unicycle program came about after he stopped volleyball coaching — he'd built a championship-winning volleyball team at Clackamas High School. "I started riding a unicycle when I was 12, and I've been on them ever since," Stultz recalled. "When I decided to bring this to my school, I started searching online, picking them up, one of the time, until I had 61 unicycles."

While he generally starts with the fourth and fifth graders, the next to be given unicycles are third and second graders, Stultz said. "But, I've had some kindergarteners that have a lot of energy, they don't mind falling, and are quick learners.

"Some kids learn in two weeks; for some kids it takes three years," observed Stultz. "The lessons they learn are perseverance, physical coordination, and teamwork.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Along with the Woodmere Elementary School Unicycle Team here are: Rob Hill; adaptive P.E. teacher and coach Jim Stultz (between unicycles in the back row); Vice Principal Katherine Polizos; and PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero. "But, the most important thing is having fun," Stultz quickly added. "It is so much fun for them; and it's also the most fun thing that I do," he concluded as the school show began.

What's next for Coach Jim Stultz? He wouldn't say. But, we'd bet he'll be doing it riding a unicycle.

Riding in groups, up and over ramps and teeter-boards — and even in the dark, with glowing spokes and necklaces — the school show, set to popular music, was astounding.

You'll enjoy watching this exclusive BEE video, showing the skills of these young unicycle riders better than any words of ours can — youtu.be/s92U0MPd3t8


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