Angel of Monday Night Ping-Pong moves on |

Angel of Monday Night Ping-Pong moves on

Kay Vasilakis

Former Rifle Middle School Science teacher and passionate table tennis player Urban Quint opened up the school gymnasium for his final Monday Night Ping Pong session on Monday, Dec. 16. Quint and his wife Jeanine recently sold their Rifle business, Micro Plastics, and are moving to Estes Park in early January.Over 25 years ago, Quint procured the materials and built 12 Ping-Pong tables that have seen action in Monday Night Ping-Pong and physical education classes at the school. Because of his generosity and the school’s support of the program, the school inherited the tables after his retirement in 1999. Physical education teacher Jim Boone said, “This activity is especially good for those students who don’t participate in team sports.” Before Quint was involved, Rifle pharmacist Mike Kuntupis, who owned a thriving drive-up pharmacy for many years where the Outlaw Medical Arts Building is now housed, opened up the Rifle Middle School gymnasium for Ping-Pong. Kuntupis taught Quint about advanced techniques and strategies of playing serious table tennis, and introduced him to the inverted rubber paddles used by sophisticated players. After his departure, Quint continued the program.”Just to see the kids, the smiles on their faces, the exuberance, is great,” said Quint. “If they could beat me, they would get a soda pop. I’ve lost several cases of pop over the years.” He continued, “Once you know how hard it is to learn something, whether it’s Ping-Pong or academics, you can identify with students who struggle and better meet their needs in other ways.” Quint was nominated for the Garfield County Humanitarian Award several years ago for his many years of involvement in the table tennis program, and has a spiritual philosophy to his involvement. “I feel very honored to be a part of this, and I believe God created this opportunity for me to be involved with the kids.” “The nicest thing that ever happened to me was when a student who was a very good player played a student of a lesser ability. He thought it was much more important to play the game and teach the other player than to win the game. When you see a student demonstrate the concept of `winning is not everything’, it is very heartwarming. How often would you run into a student who goes above sportsmanship?” Several of his former students have displayed interest in traveling to his new home to play Ping-Pong in his new, large garage. He is seriously considering contacting the Estes Park YMCA to start a program.Besides bringing Ping-Pong to Rifle Middle School, his duties as a science teacher, and his work a founding member of the Garfield Re-2 Education Foundation, Quint has been known for 30 plus years as The Bug Man, making the study of insects interesting to generations of Rifle students. His eyes light up and he is truly excited as he teaches students about the characteristics of each insect. Former students and friends have been known to bring captured spiders and bugs to him for accurate identification.Many friends, students, and colleagues will miss this dedicated community member. Thanks for everything, Urban! How fortunate we were to have had your large heart in our district for so long.The Ping-Pong unit will continue in the Rifle Middle School physical education program, and Quint is hoping a staff member steps up to the table to continue Monday Night Ping Pong.Garfield Re-2 School Board member Kim Goossens was thrilled with the progress the Re-2 Student Ambassadors made at their Dec. 13 meeting. Student Ambassador Board member Hailey McDonald facilitated Ambassadors Esperanza Luna, Kyle Sanderson, Trisha McDowell, Eric Simms, Heather Smyth, Kayla Allred, Tyler Chapman, Emilie Kozera, Misty Kearns, Sara Burgess, Sarah Brusig, Alissa Skinner and Marcy Kreimier to a comprehensive Student Ambassador Mission Statement. Anyone who has struggled with an all-encompassing mission statement knows the difficulty of this process.The following is the mission statement the Ambassadors created as their legacy to future Ambassadors:”As Garfield Re-2 Student Ambassadors, we create a learning environment where student, faculty, and the school board come together. We are a link from the school board back to the body of students. We choose to take a leadership role within our schools and community, display commitment, respect diversity, and carefully evaluate all student ideas.” – Thursday, Dec. 12, was a different experience at Esma Lewis Elementary’s lunchroom. Principal Howard Disney ate pizza with the school’s lunch ladies while the Maintenance Department served lunch to the students.-Riverside School’s 4/5 grade winter concert is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.Kathryn Senor Elementary’s kindergarten and first-grade music program is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m.-Check out the Esma Lewis Elementary Christmas Web page at Break for Garfield Re-2 students is set for Dec. 23-Jan. 6. School resumes Jan. 7. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Garfield School District No. Re-2!

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