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What’s P.E. without a Gym?

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Evelyn Zuniga, East Early College HS, Class of 2015

Dear HISD,

On April 24, 2015 the Student Congress had its second-to-last meeting of the year at East Early College High School. One of our guest speakers, Dr. Ann McCoy, a professor at the University of Houston, talked about the importance of bringing back the school’s prestigious reputation it had when she was a student. Professor McCoy mentioned the reconstruction of many schools in the district and followed by asking us what we would change and keep about our own schools.

Professor McCoy’s question got me thinking. I am a senior at East Early College High School, and although I had a great high school experience, I always felt like my school had been missing something that I believe is a key element in becoming a well-rounded student. My high school is known for its academic workmanship and its opportunity to graduate not only with a high school diploma but also with an associate’s degree.

However, senior year has made me realize how important extracurricular activities are for any student who plans on attending top tier universities. When I was in middle school, I was in volleyball, basketball, and even cheerleading. I was devastated that the high school I was planning to attend did not provide these “traditional” extracurricular activities. It seems as if sports aren’t important, but they are!

When applying to universities, we are told that admission officers look for well-rounded students. This means that they will easily choose a student that has good grades and plays sports over a student with straight A’s that has no extracurricular activities.

I feel that physical education has not been prioritized enough in schools, as the district has chosen to build high schools that do not have something as simple as a gym. East Early College High School is one of few schools in the district that offers a physical education class without a school gym. In the meantime we have used the HCC field for our P.E. classes but have been notified that they will soon have a groundbreaking event to start the construction of a new building. My question is: how can physical education be a state requirement while HISD builds schools that do not include a gym or even a piece of land to play sports on?

It’s true that my school allows students to play sports in other high schools, but how does that provide our school with school spirit from sport? My school lacks the school spirit that other traditional schools have due to its lack of sports and clubs. East Early College High School has no conception of what a school pep rally is. As an ex-cheerleader, I think this is very sad.

I feel that over the years, the Houston Independent School District has overlooked the importance of school sports and clubs. Even though my school tries to provide sports like soccer, weightlifting, and track, we do not have a space to practice in. Next year, the soccer team will not have the field that it has used for practice in past years. The interest in weightlifting has constantly been increasing, but we have only been provided with a simple storage room near a flight of stairs, which is not enough space to practice.

There have been rumors that some of the school reconstructions, such as Milby High School, might result in cuts in the athletic department. I am here to say, I have been a part of such a great athletics department at my middle school full of devoted students and coaches that I am not fortunate to receive at my high school.

I believe that it is highly important to provide schools with as many extracurricular activities as possible as well as the proper facilities, such as a school gym. Academics alone do not make a well-rounded student, and academics alone should not make a high school.

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This entry was posted on September 4, 2015 by and tagged , , .

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