SPA should offer classes for physical education after freshman year


Students working out in the weight room after school.

St. Paul Academy and Summit School is known for being an academically challenging school able to prepare its students for college. SPA offers great academic classes for all four years of high school, and by senior year, very few classes are required by the school. SPA requires freshmen to take a “fitness for life” class which focuses on physical activity and education for one semester. Another non-academic requirement is a wellness class for sophomores.

These two classes are great opportunities for students to learn more about physical and mental health, which is very important for high school students attending a competitive school. Class choices become a lot more flexible for students by senior year, allowing students to choose which subjects/classes they find most valuable for their future. But unfortunately, there are no requirements or even optional courses focused on physical education. All of the classes offered are academic classes or art classes, but there are none offered for students who want a break from classes and instead want some physical activity.

Physical activity is very important to the health of teenagers. If teenagers can stay active, it will reduce the risk mental health issues, such as stress and depression . School only gets more stressful by junior and senior year with more work and the stress of college for many students, the best way for SPA to help their students deal with stress is to require them to stay physically active during the day.

Ms. Anderson, the fitness for life teacher, thought there would be many benefits to having a class for juniors and seniors to take to keep them physically active. One of her ideas was a weightlifting class.

“There could be a weightlifting class because I know some people struggle to find places where there are supervisors and time in their schedules to weightlift.” Anderson understood that it would be hard to get good numbers for the class.

“It might be hard to get many people because I know how academically challenging this school is and people need all of the time they can get, especially during free periods to get their work done.”

But Anderson felt the benefits outweighed the downsides, and felt that if the numbers were there, the class would be a great idea. If the class was optional, nobody would sign up for it because they would rather fill their schedules with classes to make their transcripts look good. This only adds more stress to SPA students. If the class is required, then students would have to take the class for a semester or quarter which would give students mental breaks from their school work for an hour to be active and free of stress. Junior Nikolaus Elsaesser claimed “If they were required then there definitely should be ways to opt out mainly for other obligations or you are to busy or you are engaged in after school sports for example, I think that would be a valid reason.”

For some students this class could be a good way to get exercise, or even weightlifting in during the day, but for others, this class would solely provide a break from stress. Physical activity is immensely important to the health of SPA students, and students all over the world, that’s why it’s time for SPA to offer physical educational classes for all four years of high school and not just for one year.