Proposal: Change the P.E. requirement for Varsity Student Athletes


Steph Hogan '23, managing co editor

The reason physical education is required in high school is to offer a way for students to have an active break to disrupt the continuous rigor of academic learning throughout the day. Mentally, P.E.  also offers many students a chance to learn leadership and cooperation on and off the field with students besides their teammates.  The list of mental and physical benefits P.E. offers students in numerous. However what’s not talked about is the stress and redundancy of physical education for student athletes. Varsity student athletes should not be required to take four semesters of P.E. 

WHS sports teams host 2 hour practices/5 days a week, with optional Saturday practice as well as 2-3 games/meets/matches a week. Not only are these plenty of hours spent exercising, they are also  used to learn how to cooperate with others, lead teams, and make connections on and off the field. These hours spent towards athletics all take away from hours after school that are available to spend completing school work, other co curricular activities/jobs, and family obligations. Furthermore, as students approach junior and senior years, they are offered a lot more flexibility in their schedule to fit in classes needed for post secondary school. 

What’s an alternative? One possible solution would be to change the graduation requirement of 4 semesters of physical education for varsity student athletes to 2 semesters.  This action would provide student athletes 2 open classes as a potential study hall or an alternative elective. To meet this alternative, student athletes would need to participate in at least 2 seasons per year for 4 years of athletics. 

P.E. can remain an option for athletes if they chose to participate, but this way there will be more flexibility in their schedule as they already are meeting the requirements through school activity. 

This switch in requirements has been seen in other public schools around Massachusetts, specifically schools like Hingham High School. In their statement released to the students and parents, they stated:

 “…For junior and senior years, all students must select one of the following options each year: 

  1. Play on an interscholastic team at HHS for at least one season. *No action required 3. Participate in an organized activity/club (horseback riding, skiing, karate, dance, a club sport etc.) 
  2. Participate in personal workouts at a fitness/exercise facility. 
  3. Participate in an organized activity/club (horseback riding, skiing, karate, dance, a club sport, Wompatuck Warriors mountain biking, etc.) 

The hope is that the Administration will recognize that varsity student athletes need more options to further create a successful future for themselves.  Providing an alternative to part of the P.E. requirement would provide this opportunity, while reducing stress.