By: Abby Gott — School News Editor
Keep those sneakers out! Starting with the class of 2026, gym will be required for all four years of high school. The current requirement to graduate is the completion of two years of gym.
The new Sharon High School building, opening in the fall of 2022, will provide modern facilities to host the physical education classes.
At the February 16th school committee meeting, principal Joe Scozzaro said that it is a Massachusetts law that students take physical education all four years of high school. “We noticed that we needed to meet those regulations,” said Scozzaro.
Sharon High School gym and wellness teacher David Morse says that it’s a great sign that the leadership in our district is moving towards meeting state requirements. “I find it incredibly beneficial to promote active and healthy lifestyles throughout high school. Four-year physical education should help kids live healthier lives and hopefully be utilized as an appropriate stress de-escalation strategy,” said Morse.
“I think the majority of students will resist this change because of the academic rigors of SHS. However, I expect this change is just one of many, like scheduling changes and PE elective offerings that will help alleviate concerns and develop some more enthusiasm amongst the students,” added Morse.
Sharon Middle School eighth-grader Aaron Gott says that he is excited about this change. “I like gym class because it gives me the opportunity to play sports and run around during the day,” said Gott.
Sharon High senior, Ben Levinson, says that he sees positive and negative aspects to extending the gym requirement. “I think it’s good for students to have gym class for 4 years because it ensures that they are exercising regularly but at the same time is incredibly
disruptive to school schedules and takes up a space in an already limited schedule,” said Levinson.
“I remember when I was choosing which classes to take I had a difficult time deciding between my options and I know that having gym as a requirement would’ve made that process even harder,” added Levinson.
At the February 16th school committee meeting the Dean of Academic Affairs, Bob Pomer, said that there may be other options for students to fulfill the new requirements. “We are looking at creative means for students to fulfill the wellness requirement whether that’s through inside or outside participation in other athletic or physical exercises,” said Pomer.
Morse says that as a department they have requested additional electives that would appeal to more students. “We hope that in the coming years leadership will provide the staffing resources to offer these opportunities. For example, we would like to offer multiple weight lifting fitness courses, yoga, outdoor recreation, dance, and team sports classes to name a few,” said Morse.
Gott agrees and says that he hopes there will be other classes offered other than the traditional physical education class. “It would be cool if they did classes that specialized in different sports,” said Gott.
Sharon High senior, Shelby Okstein, says that it is not a good idea to change the requirement to four years. “I definitely would not want to take gym all four years and am glad it did not affect me because then I would not have been able to take all the electives that I am currently taking, especially since the art requirement also puts a restriction on schedules,” said Okstein.
“Also right now moving into the new building with new facilities we are aware that kids want to take the classes, not just that we have to require [the students] to take it,” added Scozzaro.