Freshmen students lose gym options

Ana Espinoza, Assistant News Editor

In the past, students have appreciated a choice between traditional gym classes and less conventional courses, like Dance and Choreography, especially in the first year of high school. In a noticeable change, freshmen no longer have the ability to choose from a number of gym classes. The physical education department has made changes to the freshmen’s gym choices in order to provide all students with a more balanced educational experience.

Freshmen are now required to take standard physical education classes, rather than having a choice between varied options, such as Dance and Movement and Fitness. This change may be extended to the sophomores for the 2013-2014 school year and beyond, which leaves only upperclassmen with the opportunity to take specialized physical education courses.

“The athletic director wants ninth and tenth graders to participate in team and independent sports education before they branch out and choose different activities,” said physical education teacher Ms. Robin Cooper. “Basically, we don’t want students doing anything for more than two years.” Students used to have three physical education class options: Physical Education, Fitness, and Dance and Choreography. “I loved having the fitness option when I was a freshman,” said senior Dana Mirro. “I liked high school gym so much more than gym in middle school because we did activities that I liked participating in. I enjoy doing yoga and step aerobics much more than playing basketball.”

There are mixed opinions among ninth graders, but most students do not show little concern towards the change. “I was okay with it, because guys usually take the regular gym class anyway,” said freshman Danny DeAmeller. “But I think some of the girls, especially, would’ve liked a choice.”

In a traditional physical education class, all freshmen receive a basic introduction to weight training, outdoor education, and fitness, with a variety of sport-intensive units. This enables the students to make educated decisions when choosing their full-year gym courses in the future.

“In a nutshell, the reason for the change is to acclimate the freshman to the physical education program in the high school, transition-wise, and introduce them to activities that we have strands for going forward,” said athletic director Ms. Stephanie Joannon.

With this new change taking place, the roughly one fourth of the freshman class who has chosen to enroll in specialized P.E. classes will no longer be given that choice, contributing to lower enrollment in these courses, and, eventually, fewer sections.

“If the change stays, then only upperclassmen will be able to do the special classes,” said Ms. Cooper. “And there will be fewer Outdoor Education, Dance, and Fitness classes in the future.”