By Betsy Larson
“It was different than freshman and sophomore PE because everyone wanted to be in the class, there was a choice of taking it or not,” says Keenan Grove (‘15) Oyster River alumni. “Since everyone wanted to be in it, it was a lot more competitive which was fun.”
This year at Oyster River High School, Advanced Physical Education was taken away to allow more sophomore gym classes and improve their flexibility for choosing classes. Advanced PE was designed to give juniors and seniors a chance to stay active during the day and create a competitive and fun atmosphere. The controversial topic of the necessity for PE class was brought up and the decision was made at the start of the 2015-2016 school year to take away advanced PE.
The major concern was that since PE is mandatory to take freshman year for one semester and sophomore year all year, it was taking up space in the student’s schedules and preventing them from taking other electives. Because of this, more sophomore PE classes would be offered into the schedule to allow more flexibility. Advanced PE was brought back second semester but by then it was too late for juniors and seniors who wanted to take it to make room for it in their schedule.
“The biggest goal was to give upperclassmen a chance to be active during the day especially those kids who weren’t involved on a team,” says Don Maynard, PE teacher at ORHS. “It shouldn’t have been taken away.”
For students who loved PE freshman and sophomore year, it’s a great fit. The class is designed around the students as they get to pick the units they’ll cover during the semester.
“It’s taken way more seriously [than standard PE] and the teachers gave a little leisure for how much freedom you have,” says Jeff Powers (16’), who took advanced PE last year. “I liked the fact that it was extremely competitive and it was also a very good time,” Powers continued.
Although those who took the class in previous years loved it, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Standard PE classes tend to have a different atmosphere than advance PE because standard PE is mandatory and the students in advanced PE chose to take that course.
“I definitely wouldn’t have done advanced PE, because I don’t really like playing sports, and I would rather take different electives and classes,” says Maise Cook (‘18). “I like that it’s a break from just sitting at a desk, and I like that I get to be with my friends, but sometimes I’d rather catch up on homework for other classes.”
Several sophomores said that PE has interfered with their schedule since it’s a year long, mandatory course, but in past years there were many students who loved PE and said it was never a problem when choosing other courses they wanted to take, and continued on to advanced PE.
“I wished we were required to take gym all four years but not everyone likes that idea. That’s why I thought advanced PE was a great elective for students who did want to take PE still,” said Alana Saravong, (‘15) ORHS alumni.
A new trend for sophomores and even freshmen is online gym, that way they can take the extra electives they wanted to without working around the PE period.
“I did find that gym was taking up space in my schedule I could have used for other classes so I take online gym now,” says Brennen Oxford (18’).
Whether a student loves PE class or choses to take it online, there’s an option for everyone. In the future the PE department hopes to have Advanced PE back for upperclassmen to take so students can get outside and have some exercise during their school day.