Wellness Coordinator Carlyn Uyenoyama has been a health and fitness educator for 27 years. She has worked at the Lawrence School, the high school, and in parts of Europe. Uyenoyama was the captain of her sailing team at Boston University and was previously the coach of the high school sailing team. She loves trail running with her family and ran at Nationals in the Masters race for cross country. As a global participant in athletics, she has worked at the Olympics one year.
What is your approach to teaching?
Students are at the forefront of everything I do. When someone asks me an opinion or a thought or question, I always roll it back to what is best for kids. I’m a physical education and health teacher of 24 years. I taught kindergarten through 12th grade. I taught at Brookline High for a while and then I taught high school in Greece and in Rome, Italy. So I’ve taught internationally for seven years in three different countries. I’ve got that international approach to educational experiences as well, which I think is very helpful in Brookline.
What is the most rewarding thing about working in wellness?
The most rewarding moment for me has always been the moment when a student tries something that they weren’t sure they could do, or had never done before, and they have success.Those are the most beautiful moments for me as a teacher, as a coach, as a parent and as a colleague. Wellness is about being your best self physically, emotionally, socially and mentally. If I can get a student to have an experience that they wouldn’t necessarily have had, then that’s the golden ticket. That’s why I’m still at it after 27 years.
Is there a specific experience or memory you have with students that stands out to you?
I did have a beautiful moment years ago where I had a student who was immunocompromised. The student worked on running in the cross country meet, which is a very hard mile. It was quintessential Lars Anderson, the leaves are falling. [The student] got to the top of the hill and the parents were crying. It was that moment of, this is why I was put on this Earth, to make sure that students and families have this joy. Then after the meet, the parents came up to me and said, “We never thought we would ever be able to watch our child accomplish something like that.” So that was pretty pivotal in my career.
What is your own experience with wellness? Do you do sports?
I grew up playing soccer, playing field hockey and running track and field. I actually grew up near the ocean, so I sailed a lot. In college I was a captain of the women’s sailing team at Boston University. Now as an adult, I’m actually more into running than I’ve ever been, and it’s predominantly trail running in the woods and cross country. I have two daughters who trail run with me. I ran in the national championships in the Masters with a team called Liberty Athletic Club. It’s the oldest female running club in America. Last year five of us went down to Nationals. I’ve been around a lot of athletes, but I hadn’t been the athlete, so that was fun.