By: Twumasi Duah-Mensah
It’s a staple of the physical education class: students scheming to escape the rigors of gym activities. Some common strategies include: volunteering to be scorekeeper as soon as Coach even hints at the opportunity, taking just a few more minutes to change into gym clothes, pompously walking the mile while everyone else runs, or skipping class altogether.
But with Heritage’s new class requirement, these serial gym class skippers will have to wipe the dust off the tactics board and devise some new escape plans.
That’s right: when you walk up onto that stage, your family will be cheering as obnoxiously loud as possible, your friends will give you a congratulatory smile, and someone will reward you for your hard work by handing you your high school diploma—only if you’ve taken TWO gym classes.
Well, not necessarily “you.” I mean “you” as in the current freshmen and sophomores. Every student has already chosen their classes, so the Class of 2020 need not worry about the gates of graduation being slammed in their face. As for the Class of 2021, 2022, and future classes, we apologize in advance. If it’s any consolation, you don’t have to take gym all year if you’re a rising freshman. You can take your second gym class later in your high school career.
Why is the school doing this? After a UNC survey revealed that just 22% of WCPSS students get a recommended amount of exercise, WCPSS was under pressure to resolve its crisis of sedentary children. After an emergency meeting, they quickly sent out a memo urging all schools—even the most healthy—to submit their “concrete” action plans to make their school more active.
Pressured to devise a “concrete” plan, the school found zero options that would please the student body. Their best and only idea was to bump the gym class requirement up to two. Although the county’s directive was mocked as a panic move, Heritage admin had no choice in a dire situation, and students will unfortunately bear the brunt of an ill-advised imperative sent by WCPSS. Again, we’re sorry.