Independent PE Benefits Student Athletes

Layne Estes, Staff Writer

Most high schools require their students to engage in a certain amount of physical activity in order to graduate, usually in the form of Physical Education classes.  For many student-athletes, taking such classes seems redundant given the hours they spend practicing and competing outside of school. Miramonte students, most of whom participate in an array of sports and physical activities, should have the option to take Independent PE if a certain amount of athletic hours are met.

For students who consistently engage in athletics, an alternative period (ranging from study hall to other academic classes) could benefit their studies and overall high school experience.

Synchronized swimmer sophomore Daria Torba spends four hours in the pool daily, and six hours on weekends, perfecting her physically demanding routines for the Walnut Creek Aquanuts.

“I would love to be able to have a study hall or another elective because it would put a lot less stress on me. I would be more productive,”  Torba said.

The addition of one hour of PE is unessacry for ahtletes coping with numeous hours of physical activity.

Much like Torba, sophomore Drew Barber avidly trains with the Oakland Strokes Rowing Team.  “It would be very beneficial to have Independent PE because it would give me time to start on my homework. It would also let me get more sleep despite a tough schedule with school and sports,” Barber said.

Miramonte offers exceptional classes enabling students to pursue an array of subjects to expand their realm of learning. The Educational Foundation of Orinda, the largest funding source at Miramonte, supports most of these classes, such as Jazz Band, Digital Photography, Drama and numerous academic classes as well.

“With the economic downturn in 2007, we have been funding more academic classes in order to provide a balanced educational experience for all students,” former EFO President Yosh Neugebauer said. “EFO funding benefits every student at Miramonte.”

Students who have enough athletic activity outside of school to compensate for not taking PE would have a valuable opportunity to take these other classes.

One of the few schools that has an Independant PE program is Berkeley High School, which cumulatively counts athletic hours over the four years. Students attending Berkeley High can acquire PE credit by doing an outside sport or going to the neighboring YMCA.

Sophomore varsity volleyball member Elle Gennis from Berkeley High applies this system to her daily life for maximum benefits. “This system is super helpful because I have more time in my day to do my homework, and I also can take more interesting classes which improves my high school experience,” Gennis said.

The exceptional option to take an alternative period instead of PE allows students an extra period for studying when time for schoolwork is of the essence. In addition, this option makes room for other classes which in turn expands learning.