LIFE UNDER LOCKDOWN: Hinkley teacher, coach Beth Himes can’t wait to return to traveling

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Beth Himes has served as the boys and girls swim coach at Hinkley for 20 years and she’s also been a chaperone for Hinkley travel trips for the last decade. She and around 70 other students, parents and chaperones had their trip to Italy in March postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | Beth Himes had chaperoned many Hinkley High School trips over the past decade, but she was very much looking forward to the one scheduled for March to Italy.

The coronavirus pandemic had other ideas.

Because of the clamps placed on international travel — especially to Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries — Himes and nearly 70 other Hinkley students, parents and chaperones will have to wait until at least October, or possibly next summer, when they will try again to go with their tour company, Education First.

Not being able to go anywhere is extra difficult for Himes, a travel buff in her personal life who sees tremendous value in experiencing other places and cultures, when it can be done safely again.

“I think travel is a really, really important piece of education,” said Himes, a longtime math teacher who has also served as the school’s boys and girls swim coach for two decades.

“This is a global society, which you can see by the way we can’t control this virus as quickly and easily as we thought. People travel everywhere for personal reasons, pleasure, experiences and more. If we don’t encourage that, our society is going to have consequences. We have to get back to that, I’m just waiting for that moment.”

While she waits for her next trip — she has a future school trip to London, Paris and Dublin next March as well as her own trip to Argentina and Uruguay next summer, while her sister lives in Australia, which has also been a destination for her — Himes is trying to help her students navigate the early stages of remote learning.

Like many people, Himes describes the way she is dealing personally with the day-to-day threat of the coronavirus as “OK,” as she tries to search out the good among the bad. As a math teacher, she is intrigued by the daily data tracking of the virus and uses it teach her students.

Himes hasn’t been directly affected by the virus, though she has a friend in Boston who contracted what appears to be a mild case of it.

What Himes hasn’t been to do is help the senior boys on her swim team (the Penguins, the Aurora Public School co-op team based out of Hinkley) come to terms with the loss of their entire swim season.

Though the Colorado High School Activities Association has suspended spring sports until April 30, the APS district was among 14 in the metro area to announce a joint closure of facilities and activities, including athletics, for the rest of the school year.

“We just in shock right now,” Himes said. “I don’t know how I can help them through this emotionally. We had such a great outlook for the swim season. We had a good level of talent. No rock stars or superstars, but kids who had been with me for four years and were really looking forward to this season.”

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports