ROTC Program Replacing Physical Education

Haley Engelbrecht, student-journalist

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On April 1st, Clairemont High School (CHS), will be removing physical education and replacing it with the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). It is a college program that prepares young adults to become military officers in their future.

PE for teens is very important as they grow and mature.

Informational website Education Week reports, “The problem is that we are seeing less and less physical education at the high school level, and what is expected is reduced from high school students,” said physical education director B.I. Gguy.

As teens mature, their percent of body fat increases heavily which can lead to becoming less physically active. This results in students ditching the class or just not participating or suiting up.

“In 2003, only 55.7 percent of high school students were enrolled in a PE class daily, and only 39.2 percent were physically active during PE class,” Education Week reports.

Many teachers or coaches for the programs at schools are not as involved anymore.

CHS Athletic Director A. Rue Kidden said, “During my 1st and 2nd period, the students are just goofing off and doing what they feel is exercise. So, I typically look over my softball line up for the upcoming game. Since the kids aren’t going to try, I won’t try for them.”

PE has been fading away for about 20 years now due to kids not willing to exercise with friends. Yet, schools do not pay their full attention on getting kids a daily health requirement of at least 60 minutes of exercise a day by just giving teachers 40 plus students and then expect work to be done.

Mr. Gguy said, “We have seen a trend over the past 20 years of administrators expecting physical education teachers to take on large numbers of students in a crowded environment and control them without assistance.”

Students and teachers at CHS have definitely noticed that the program has not been up in the air recently. Multiple pupils say they have not heard a word about it since middle school when their teachers would ‘hype’ up how high school PE would be more demanding.

Athletic Director Mr. Gehprankedall said, “Here at Clairemont, I never hear any announcements about physical education achievements with kids reaching a high goal or something. I bet this change to the ROTC program has been heading our way for a while now due to the lack of motivation for the students and will be a great improvement here on campus for both teachers and students.”

With ROTC coming soon next school year, it will prepare students to be more disciplined and know what a military experience is like. Certain kids will have to step up their game and actually strive to try in this program.

Fresh routine methods will assist the teens in getting through the day easier and more organized. ROTC plans to bring self-esteem and leadership roles to the table and improve the mind with making smarter decisions.

One day a week, students will wear the assigned uniforms to every class period. Occasional performances at school celebrations involve drills with mock rifles.

From a college recruit perspective, seeing the various things on a transcript (ROTC, clubs, sports and extra service hours) will definitely help in being able to choose the right career pathway for the student.

Vice Principal Mr. Yur Sylli says he is excited about the new initiative and is positive that it will help kids learn new attitudes toward life and a greater appreciation for the soldiers of the United States. It creates a direct career track immediately after graduating high school.

All grades will be required to take the class and will only be 3rd and 4th periods. For now, just 9th and 10th graders will be required to take and pass it with at least 70% or higher. 

Sergeant Major Mark O’Polo and Gunnery Sergeant Mayer Smelli will be the instructors and will take charge to help the underclassmen mature in a way parents and adults have never seen before. Their rules are stricter than teachers have and it will surprise the students.

Get ready Clairemont High School for a better way to get daily exercise!