All students at AHS are required to take part in a Physical Education class during each year of school, but some of those who seem uninterested are usually the star athletes of their desired sport.

Most students of AHS show their Warrior Pride by taking part of school sports, investing up to almost two hours of their time after school. Despite this committment to an after school sport, these athletes are still required to take a 90 minute, half credit physical education class once a year.

Ironically, there is a small party of students who would prefer to play multiple school sports than participate in a simple PE class, demonstrating this preference through a lack of interest and effort in their PE class.

Senior Hannah Muhlfelder said, “I think it is up to the student’s choice whether or not they would opt out [of Physical Education]. I would opt out because I feel like I have wanted to take so many classes over the course of my high school career.” She feels that the half block can be better invested in a visual arts class.

The vast majority of the high school students would prefer to take advantage of this 90 minute class. Finding the opportunity to run around as both a mental break from classes, but also as a way to let some well needed steam out during the long school hours.

“Students need the physical activity break during the school day as a stress reliever from the academic demands, particularly the students who take a number of AP and honors courses,” Ms. Emery, Andover High Physical Education teacher, said. “Students who participate in physical activity prior to an academic class are more alert and prepared to learn than when those same students don’t participate in physical activity.”

What many students don’t realize, is that Physical Education follows a strict learning curriculum that includes common assessments. Emery explained, “Physical education courses are taught by licensed and certified physical education teachers.”

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) states that physical education is an academic subject. According to NASPE, “PE was first offered as a subject in U.S. schools in the early part of the 19th century. State education agency mandates for PE became common after World War I, when many young men were found to be unfit for military service.”

However, Muhlfelder pointed out that she is  “… a two sport athlete so every semester I have something going on after school that is going to keep me fit and is going to keep me healthy.”

However, since not all students lead active lifestyles, as demonstrated by The 1999 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey in Physical Activity which estimated that 15% of adolescents were at risk of becoming overweight and 7% were overweight, physical education is still a crucial aspect of our school curriculum, regardless of whether it is necessary for all students.
By Hannah Jablonki