Danvers native Meghan Duggan is the captain of the US Women’s Ice Hockey Team, but is now pitching in as a virtual gym teacher at her elementary school while her former physical education teacher, Jen Mscisz, recovers from COVID-19.
Duggan is making workout videos to help keep the young students active at home. According to Duggan, Mscisz was struggling to do her job remotely, so Duggan stepped in. Duggan described Mscisz as a mentor.
“I wanted to do everything that I could,” Duggan told the Globe. “For whatever reason, I remember just as a middle schooler and elementary school kid, just connecting with her. She was someone who I looked up to athletically, because she was such a great athlete and I was an aspiring athlete at that age. She and others in my community have supported my Olympic journey, for really the last 20 years of my life.”
Duggan hopes Mscisz “is getting better every day.” Duggan said she’s been in and out of the hospital “a little bit.”
Duggan, 32, is usually in charge of leading a team of elite athletes. The three-time Olympian embraces her new challenge in keeping the kids at Willis E. Thorpe Elementary School physically active through virtual workout classes.
Duggan attended Willis E. Thorpe two decades ago, and is now giving back to where it all started. She’s also a busy mother, having given birth to her son, George, on Feb. 29.
“I think having a kid changed my entire life and the way I think about everything,” Duggan said. “It’s such a difficult time for everyone right now. To be given a really small opportunity to make some young kid smile, to help out a friend and a community that I care so much about, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.”
The first video was about three minutes long. She introduced herself and talked to them about the importance of social distancing, but also staying active. She brought them through squats, toe touches, running stairs and more.
“I could be the on-call gym teacher for the next couple weeks, so we’ll see,” Duggan said.