Rock climbing and curling clubs allow students to experience new physical education options off campus


Credit: Tommy Larson

Physics teacher and rock climbing club leader, Dr. Ying, demonstrates his skills on the rock climbing wall. Dr. Ying and his club climb at The Cliffs in Valhalla every Wednesday.

Only 1.5 to 2 million people in the world curl or have ever curled. While not as large or popular as other sports, curling has a community that is as close-knit as any other.

The Hackley curling PE class takes place once a week every Wednesday night and has about 10 or 12 members every year dating back to its conception in the 2011 school year. For two hours a week, the members gear up and head to the Ardsley Curling Club where they go through a variety of practices and drills before playing some friendly 4v4 games.

Karen Casper, math teacher and head of the curling club, is proud of the fact that students bond and make friendships through curling. The curling community extends beyond Hackley and reaches further into the curling world as a whole.

“Curling clubs and leagues all over the country are started by curlers who were once in clubs just like Hackley’s,” said Ms. Casper.

Another PE class offered by Hackley is Rock climbing, an eleven-person club that takes place for an hour and forty-five minutes on Wednesday nights. The members head out to The Cliffs in Valhalla and spend the time completing grueling climbs up the rigorous walls.

Senior club member Liam Gonick said, “It has been great to get the chance to bond with the members of this club, and to make new and lasting memories.”

The club has largely been run by physics teacher Andrew Ying after a group of seniors needed a chaperone for the club. “I had never before rock-climbed,” he said.

Dr. Ying noted, however, that he has seen tremendous improvement in not only his rock climbing ability but also the rock climbing abilities of various members of the rock-climbing club. The chemistry within the members of the club is also strong.

“This group of seniors has been really inclusive, and the members within the club are close to one another,” said Ying.

Eleven members, working as one, to reach the peak. Curling and rock climbing, two activities that many have never had the opportunity to enjoy bring members of the Hackley community together, creating memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.