Should non-Woodside sports count for PE credit?

Emma Chiu, Staff Writer

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After completing one year of physical education, Woodside students can opt out of a second— provided they take three seasons of a Woodside sport and pass the state-mandated fitness test.

However, non-Woodside sports no longer count for PE credit.  According to Woodside physical education teacher Laura Perdikomatis, a discontinued program called PE Sub used to award credits for specified outside sports, including fencing and horseback riding.

“[I was] always against it… because it was not physical education,” Perdikomatis states.  “The difference between physical activity and physical education is that we actually have standards that we’re supposed to cover.  For example in PE-2 you’ll do self defense, and freshman year you’ll do CPR.  There are all these different standards that are required by the state that would not be covered if you just did an outside sport.”

Although a number of California School Districts require two years of physical education, the Sequoia Union High School District is one of the few that allows athletes to take only one. Perdikomatis disagrees with the district, arguing that even those participating in Woodside sports should not get out of PE.

“An analogy would be if you took a Shakespeare class and did that instead of English I.  We’re like any other subject,” Perdikomatis explains.

Zoe Mason, a sophomore who swims competitively outside of Woodside, disagrees.

“As long as you can prove that you’re actually [present], it’s the same as going to a Woodside sports practice.  You’re still getting physical activity,” Mason insists.

Connor Spackman, a Woodside freshman, concurs.  Despite playing lacrosse and basketball with Woodside, Spackman believes non-school sports deserve credit as well.

“Outside sports should count for the people who don’t want to play Woodside sports,” Spackman asserts.

Woodside teacher and cross country coach Kelsey Theriault, who also coached a swim team outside of the school, sides with both students.

“If students… can’t fit a PE class in [their schedule], and they play a sport that doesn’t allow them to play a sport at Woodside, they should be allowed some sort of exemption,” Theriault reasons.  “But… I guess there would have to be [an official] list, like does competitive skiing count as a sport?  Maybe you would actually have to log your hours… something that’s equivalent to a sport at Woodside.”

Despite her own opinion, Theriault concedes that there is a justified reason behind the rule.

“I think that they want you to have an experience at Woodside, whether it’s with the PE teachers or with on-campus sports,” Theriault decides.

Still, Perdikomatis maintains her view, claiming PE benefits all students.

Perdikomatis concludes that, “One of the standards is also socialization. So PE is the only class on campus that has every single type of student in it, from… students with special needs to students in the AP classes.  It’s the only class you get to mix with the whole population of Woodside.”

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