POCOMOKE – Students at Pocomoke Middle School are skating into some new skills with access to the county’s new ice rink this month.
Worcester County’s synthetic ice rink was set up at Pocomoke Middle School last week. Students are now being treated to skating opportunities throughout the school day.
“This is a unique opportunity for our kids, a chance for middle school kids to try something they’ve never done,” Principal Matthew Record said.
Record said he was approached this winter by county officials, who were looking for a location in Pocomoke to set up the Glice synthetic ice rink the county purchased at the end of 2019. Though the rink debuted at the Worcester County Recreation Center in Snow Hill, county officials want to keep it moving, setting it up in new locations to provide residents all over the county with the chance to use it.
Record said he was thrilled to have the rink at the school.
“How could you not want an ice skating rink for your kids in the month of February?” Record said. “Sometimes when working with kids you have to ask why not. It’s giving kids an opportunity that is truly unique.”
Because the rink is more than 50 feet long and more than 30 feet wide, school officials opted to leave out a few of the panels in order to set it up on the stage in the cafeteria. This way, students have access to it during lunchtime.
“It’s great cardio, a full body workout, it’s fun and you do it in school, which speaks to something special for our kids,” Record said.
While students are able to try the rink during the school day, Pocomoke Middle will host two community nights to give local kids and families the chance to skate. In addition, Record hopes to set up the entire rink in the school’s gym sometime this summer.
Most kids who stepped onto the rink last week had never skated before.
“I’ve done roller skating before but I’ve never ice skated,” seventh grader Ashtan Hopkins said as he strapped on his skates.
Sixth grader April Dashiell said she was surprised by how stiff the skates made her legs feel but loved the experience.
“If you never get to do this again at least you can enjoy it once in your life,” she said.
Landon Makinen, another sixth grader, had been on the ice before but nonetheless enjoyed donning skates at his school.
“It’s also beneficial to kids who have never skated before because they can see what ice skating’s like without being bruised and wet,” he said.
The rink will remain at Pocomoke Middle School through the first week of March. Kelly Rados, director of recreation and parks for Worcester County, said staff would be setting it up March 10 at the Berlin Fire Company.
“Open skating will be offered while it’s set up in Berlin,” she said. “We don’t have specific days/times as of yet as we are still coordinating this, but we will post them once the rink is set up.”
She added that the rink was being well received by area residents.
“All of the feedback we have been getting has all been positive,” Rados said. “We are seeing a lot of the participants are first time ice skaters, so we are pleased that we are able to offer this new opportunity to the citizens of Worcester County.”
The county is still looking for a site to set up the rink in April. Anyone interested should contact Allen Swiger at [email protected].