Recreation Notes: Hanover P.E. Teacher Earns Honor

  • Katrina Randall, 13, of Hanover, N.H., jokes with Frances C. Richmond Middle School teacher Catherine Patch during seventh and eighth-grade physical education class at Frances C. Richmond Middle School in Hanover, N.H., on Tuesday, December 22, 2015. (Valley News - Kristen Zeis) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Kristen Zeis

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    On April 3, 2014, Richmond Middle School teacher Catherine Patch instructs student Dina Hertog-Raz before she starts her rope climb. Student at the Hanover, N.H., school are working in a "cooperation unit" for their physical education class. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News file photograph — Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/21/2018 11:56:48 PM
Modified: 2/22/2018 10:02:59 AM

The accolades keep coming for Richmond Middle School physical education teacher Catherine Patch.

Patch, 32, recently was named the Eastern District Teacher of the Year by the Society for Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE). The Lebanon native and eighth-year RMS teacher was chosen from a list for previous state teachers of the year from 11 states across the eastern seaboard, plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Patch received the award three weeks ago at the annual district conference in Burlington, and will be honored at next month’s SHAPE America National Convention & Expo in Nashville, Tenn. She’ll be one of six district winners there who are eligible for the National Middle School Teacher of the Year award.

Patch was named New Hampshire Teacher of the year by SHAPE in 2015.

“It means a lot, because there are so many great teachers in the Eastern District,” Patch said in a recent phone interview. “There are so many physical education teachers who work hard to make things better for students.”

Long known for her innovative classes that highlight cooperation and problem-solving exercises, Patch has helped implement popular programs such as RMS’ obstacle course class, an elective where students help design each course.

Patch finds creative ways to utilize woods between RMS and Storrs Pond Recreation Area, recently instructing orienteering and a “camping trip” where students erected their own tents and tarps with the use of spikes and ropes.

A circus enthusiast, Patch has brought hula hoops and unicycles to class, and prior to this year’s Super Bowl, she organized student-produced skits to help explain rules in football.

“No one really knows all the rules of football,” Patch said. “It was a way to try to get everyone to enjoy the game better.”

RMS Principal Mike Lapene isn’t surprised to see Patch’s efforts continue to gain recognition.

“It’s a lot of work to do what Catherine does, but she’s very motivated to be engaging with the students in creative ways,” Lapene said. “Whether it’s in P.E. class or electives, she goes well above national standards.”

Call to Artists: Relics from the railway will help give the Mascoma River Greenway an artistic touch.

Progress along the MRG — the envisioned four-mile, multi-use path connecting Lebanon and West Lebanon along the defunct Boston & Maine Railway — in recent years resulted in the uprooting of nearly 1,000 metal spikes previously used to fasten the rail ties.

Rather than dispose of the seven-inch-long, one-pound spikes, the MRG Coalition plans to commission two artists to produce works to be positioned along the trail between the downtown Lebanon tunnel and Glen Road in West Lebanon.

According to a MRG blog post, artists are encouraged to select themes related to Lebanon’s history, geography, natural environment, recreational activities or railroad activities. Winning artists will be granted temporary access to the studios in the AVA Gallery and Art Center’s new Bente Torjusen West Sculptural Studies Building.

“It’s something we had the idea for fairly early on, as soon as we saw how many of the spikes we were going to end up with,” said Lebanon Director of Recreation & Parks Paul Coats, a project leader. “We hope artists will incorporate use of the spikes, but other than that, there are really no rules for what can be created. We wanted to let the artists be artists in that regard.”

An intent to submit design form must be received by Monday. The form can be found on the home page at or acquired by contacting the Lebanon Department of Recreation and Parks at 603-448-5121.

Twin State Trout Camps Resume: Teenagers wishing to sharpen their fly fishing skills and learn more about fish biology and habitat will have an outlet in either Vermont of New Hampshire this June.

National Nonprofit Trout Unlimited is sponsoring the annual Vermont Trout Camp for Teens, from June 24-28 at Jackson’s Lodge on Lake Wallace in Canaan, Vt., as well as the New Hampshire Youth Trout Camp on June 20-24 at The Glen at Bear Tree in Pittsburg, N.H.

Both overnight camps will feature instruction from experienced anglers in the realm of casting, knot craft, fly selection and “reading the water,” discerning hydrology patters to help identify fish activity.

Conservationists will also be on hand to explore themes of etiquette and ethics, as well as issues facing cold water fisheries. Campers will have the opportunity to participate in a select local conservation project, according to a TU news release.

The cost for both camps is $450, covering four night’s lodging, meals, transportation to fishing locations and instruction. For both camps, applicants must submit an essay about their motivations for attending.

Middlesex, Vt., resident Kurt Budliger co-founded the Vermont camp eight years ago. The Vermont Trout Camp for Teens is limited to boys and girls aged 13-16 and capped at 12 campers.

“We’re catering to first-timers; no experience is necessary,” Budliger said. “We’ll provide them with all of the equipment to get started. However, kids that already have some experience will learn a lot to take their angling to the next level.”

It’s the second annual New Hampshire Youth Trout camp, which last year attracted eight 15-16-year-olds. The New Hampshire camp will include an electrofishing outing, which uses low-watt electrical charges to make fish easier to catch for scientific study.

“Someone from New Hampshire Fish & Game will be there to help us learn a lot about the fish,” camp director Phil Donovan said. “The conservation ethic is a big part of it.”

Applications for the Vermont Trout Camp for Teens can be found at or my contacting

To learn more about the New Hampshire Youth Trout Camp, contact Donovan at or 603-225-2511.

Jared Pendak can be reached at or 603-727-3225.

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