According to Nashoba guidelines, all students are required to take four years of wellness. No exceptions. Freshmen have to suffer their way through 90 days of gym, sophomores have to deal with 45 gym classes, and then juniors and seniors get to choose their wellness elective! Sounds great right? Except one of those years they have to deal with 45 days of… wait for it… gym. Now don’t get me wrong, I totally support required wellness classes, but I think Nashoba’s focus on wellness is a bit excessive. Students are only required to take two years of foreign language, three years of math, science, and social studies, and four years of English. So what makes gym so much more important than four of these five cores subjects that it needs to be prioritized over academic subjects? Physical exercise is certainly important, but honestly, no one is achieving that in gym class… except maybe on the day when they have to run the Beep Test.
In gym, students try their hardest to stand around and do absolutely nothing for 30 minutes, and who can blame them? Not everyone is athletic, or likes to play to win… as opposed to playing for fun and learning purposes, so for them this class is a complete waste of time. Gym hater and Senior, Jackie Cannon says “I really like running and riding my bike, and I do that all of the time on my own. But in gym class I never participated because I wasn’t on a sports team so no one would pass to me even if I tried to get the ball. I think freshmen and sophomores should also have different options for gym because it’s not fair to put me in a class with football and soccer players when I prefer independent exercise. I would get more way benefit out of running the track than playing a team sport.”
For those who do like gym, many of them do sports outside of school anyway, so why do they need these 30 minutes of useless running around the gym floor? Even for students who don’t like gym, a large amount of them participate in sports or other forms of exercise after school too. So why do we need gym?
Here is my proposal: Keep wellness required for all four years. Yes, I think it essential. But there are other interpretations of “wellness” that don’t necessarily include gym. Let’s scratch Freshmen and Sophomore gym classes, and not require anyone to participate in gym Junior or Senior year either. Instead, let’s introduce a variety of wellness classes that students can CHOOSE from, similar to the system for Juniors and Seniors now, but have this one reach out to the Freshmen and Sophomores as well.
Sophomore health is a very educational class, so that should be available to all students. And for students who feel like they are benefiting from gym, it should be an available class for them as well. For Juniors and Seniors, Nashoba also offers a variety of other great wellness classes, including Lifetime Activities, Team Sports, Total Body Workout, Rape and Aggression Defense, Mentors in Violence Prevention, Best Buddies Gym, Best Buddies Health, Best Buddies Food, Strength/Resistance Training, CrossFit Conditioning, Student Leader, On Your Own, Foods, Consumer Education, and EMT.
While these classes are great options, there is one more that I think would be vital to Nashoba students: a class that teaches fundamental necessities to be able to survive in the real world. For lack of a better name, the “Life Beyond High School” class. Nashoba’s “On Your Own” class has this kind of aim, but very few take the class and many students don’t even know it exists. Students in Nashoba’s Journalism 2 class came to a consensus about what the base of this class should include, and developed a list of questions that we would like to be answered before we venture out on our own
First up, how do you pay a bill? Does it come in the mail… Do I even have enough cash for that? Also, what are taxes and how do I pay them? And why does it cost more to live in Bolton than it does in Worcester? Next, to make sure the United States isn’t run by Donald Trump, how do I vote? And where? Why can’t you just do these things on the internet? Back to money… how do you write a check? Cash a check? Balance a checkbook? Why is everything involving checks and money so complicated?
Now moving on to some more personal topics… How do I make a doctor’s appointment? Or a dentist’s appointment? And how often do I need to go? What about dinner… How do I make that? Can I just live off of Ramen? I mean raw chicken is a little scary… like, do you have to touch it to cook it? And what’s all that white stuff on it? And expiration dates… When is it too far gone that it’s not edible? And laundry is a whole other problem of its own: Do I have to own a washer and dryer? Can I just put everything in the same load? How about my cell phone plan… my parents said they wouldn’t pay my phone bill anymore. How can I text my mom to bring me food if my phone isn’t working?
So apparently when you’re in college you have to get a job… How do I do that? Do I have to fill out a resume? I have nothing to put on a resume! And what is a W-4 form? Do I have to get a credit card too? Don’t people go in debt from those? And why do my parents have about ten credit cards? More importantly, what is insurance? And how do I use it? Are there many different kinds? And why is it so expensive? And for the people who have jobs in personal service, how much do I tip them? Like the hairdresser? Or the waiter? And I don’t have enough money to buy a car… so how do I take the train? Or buy a plane ticket? Or get a taxi? An Uber?
And most importantly, how do I protect myself? Living on your own is scary… do robberies happen in real life or is that just in the movies? What if a stranger follows me home? What if something even worse happens? I want to be able to feel confident walking the streets alone.
I want to be able to leave my high school feeling like I learned more than the quadratic formula. I want to know how to live and be an adult in this world, and right now, that’s not the kind of education I’m getting.
Image courtesy of The Odyssey Online