Saturday, May 12, 2012

Danielle's Petition

May 12. 2012

Danielle begged and pleaded with me this year to allow her to take lunchtime P.E.  In general, I'm not a fan of lunch P.E., since I'm a firm believer that kids need down time and they need adequate time to eat lunch and relax. However, after much cajoling, she and I came to an agreement:  as long as she kept her grades up and remained social and not over-tired, I'd allow it for her seventh grade year.  This enabled her to take all the required classes but take two electives, instead of just one.  She signed up for choir and beginning art/drama class (each a semester long).

Throughout the year, Danielle gained real enjoyment and a positive experience in each of her elective courses, while maintaining excellent grades.  As a matter of fact, she ended up her year with a solid A in each of her classes, the lowest percentage of which was an amazing 98%.  More importantly, she thrived socially, physically, and intellectually.  I couldn't have asked for a better year for her.  Imagine her chagrin, then, when she was told at registration that lunchtime P.E. would no longer be an option at her school.  (At the time, she thought it was a school site decision, but we discovered later that it was a state mandate coming down the pike.)  Of her own accord, this prompted her to activism.  As an advocate for herself and her fellow classmates, she started a petition, which she got 100 students to sign, and she drafted a letter to her principal asking for the reinstatement of lunchtime P.E.  I had no idea she was even writing the letter until she asked me to proofread it, nor had any of her teachers encouraged her to do so.  That she chose to act on what she perceived was an injustice rather than simply complaining about it was very impressive to me; even more impressive was how articulate her letter was.

(Not long after she delivered her letter, she was informed that there would be a select group of students who could petition for lunchtime P.E. if they had impacted schedules.  She is hoping that a position in school leadership--for which there is a class--and a desire to continue with advanced art next year will constitute an impacted schedule, and will therefore enable her to take lunch P.E. again.  Either way, I'm incredibly proud of her efforts.)

Here is the text of the letter she drafted:

 To Whom It May Concern,

Lunch P.E. is essential to us performing arts kids. We students need to excel in all areas of life; lunch P.E. helps us to achieve this goal. Whether it’s choir, band, orchestra, art, or drama, we can all use these electives later on in our lives. Some people may say that performing arts is a waste of time, but I don’t believe this and neither do the students who signed this petition.
Zero period, instead of lunch P.E. is not the superlative decision. Parents may not let their children do this extension possibility, because they can’t work around this schedule or they want their kids to get fully rested and not fall asleep in class. Students that drop out of lunch P. E. because it is not a option and then don’t sign up for before school P.E. will dramatically drop elective class’s learners.
The requirement for Jazz band is that you have to be active in another band or orchestra elective. Jazz band will get affected foremost by zero period, because to get up and go to school that early might bring up transportation hardships for some students, thus downsizing this class entirely.
Morning practices, such as swimming and water polo, will plummet in their athlete’s attendance if they participate in zero period P.E. This may decline the winnings in the games because of their practice shortages. This will decrease the average winning teams in the whole school, throughout all sports.
Some may argue that there is not enough time to eat, socialize or hang out if you partake in lunch P.E., but there is. The school provides 20 minutes and sometimes even a bit more in order to eat lunch, which is plenty of time.  Socializing and hanging out can be enjoyed during this P.E. period too; also the extra elective allows time to talk with friends while learning.
Lunch P.E. should be kept, instead of zero period for these reasons: winning teams, elective requirements, exploring new classes, and fully rested students. Electives put us at ease after a long day; they also stimulate our brains and bestow upon us more opportunities to gain extra knowledge. More will partake in lunch P.E. rather than zero period because we are already at school, unlike zero period where we have to go earlier.  Therefore I recommend that you consider these compelling reasons stated on why to bring back lunch P.E.

Sincerely, the petitioners.

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