Category Archives: Opinon

My journey to accept Sri Lanka and America as my home

By Amila Jayamaha

Guest Columnist

America is notorious for being considered a “melting pot.” It’s a country where everyone’s individualities get melted into one large label, “American.” This causes many immigrants to lose their sense of nationalism for their mother country, and makes it even harder for second generation immigrants to have a sense of patriotism for their parents’ home countries. 

I, like the common second generation immigrant, consider America to be my home and chose not to learn about my heritage as a Sinhalese person. However, after many years of discussion with my parents, and some trips to their homeland, I have a newfound appreciation for the country. This allowed me to come to the realization that I am able to consider both America and Sri Lanka to be my home. 

When I was younger my parents used to speak their native language in our house quite often, Sinhalese, and though I understood it well, I would never make any efforts to learn to speak it. I am to this day devastated with that fact. I realized how much I lost by choosing not to invest time in learning about my heritage when I first went to Sri Lanka at the age of 4.

 Throughout the 21 hour plane ride to the country, I was anticipating being extremely underwhelmed entering the country. I assumed all I would want to do would be to count the days till I got to go back home. 

After exiting the airport all of my senses were firing. I would smell the salt from the sea, feel the humid wind on my skin, taste the moisture in the air, and see and hear a bustling city in front of me. Needless to say, I was surprised by how excited I became when seeing the country for the first time. 

The drive to my grandparents home was the most fascinating and scary experience of my life. While I was able to look out the windows and see the large green mountain ranges where rice, tea, and other vegetables were growing. 

Driving in Sri Lanka is very scary, the yellow lines in the center of the road are a mere suggestion, and to drivers the speed limit is the minimum speed you should go. People race around the road overtaking and honking at one another, men herding cattle would suddenly go into the road causing a traffic jam. While I was terrified, I was also bursting with excitement for what else this country had to offer me. 

My first real outing in Sri Lanka led me to one of the many Buddhist temples scattered around the country. I was pleasantly surprised as to how interesting the history was at the temple. The large curved walls were painted with Buddha’s story of enlightenment and there were many statues of different monks and animals around the floors. 

However, what caught my eye the fastest was the 25 foot long sleeping Buddha statue made entirely out of gold, which I later found out was made over 1000 years ago. Hearing this story made me realize the historical value of Sri Lanka. After researching different aspects of Buddhism, I chose to convert to the religion. I had many supporters in the matter, because many of my family, including my mother are Buddhist.

 The next prominent trip I went on was climbing Sigiriya. This mountain stands over 1000 feet tall, and I had little to no support climbing up. While there are railings and stairs now, when I climbed the mountain, there were only steep rock paths that had no railings to catch you if you slipped. 

This added to my sense of adventure while in Sri Lanka, because while the trek was difficult, the view at the top of the mountain was amazing. Atop the mountain was the ruins of an old castle built by a Sri Lankan king who was afraid his brother, who he had pushed out to India, would come back to kill him. Thus, in his paranoia, he built the castle and created an irrigation system in the mountain that would allow him to flood the land in a 60 mile radius to keep invaders out. 

The stories this country had were so fascinating to my young brain, that it helped me learn to appreciate my culture. 

To this day, I continue going on annual summer trips to Sri Lanka to visit friends and family, and see different temples. I have begun learning to speak Sinhalese as well, so that I may someday be able to go to the country alone and experience a new sense of freedom in my motherland. 

After setting up a dual citizenship, I have finally accepted America and Sri Lanka to be my home and hope to embrace the culture that both countries offer. 

Attack On Titan: Breaking the wall of First Impressions

From Thriller to Commentary: How a series evolved into a display of the Human condition

By Max Vigue

Multimedia-Content Editor  

Hajime Isayama’s manga series later turned animated show in 2013 (directed by Tetsurō Araki, Masashi Koizuka, Jun Shishido, and Yūichirō Hayashi) Attack On Titan has accumulated a wide spectrum of popularity. 

 It made waves with a debut in the East and nearly became a classic comparable to Game of Thrones in the West, it streams on streaming services such as CrunchyRoll and Netflix.

Attack On Titan is a show that can capture the attention of mainstream American.  Season 4 will be adapting the later sections of the manga, developing beyond the initial premise. 

Although Wit Studio (April 7, 2013-July 1, 2019) has built up the reputation of releasing these breathtaking adaptations, Mappa (December 7-Present, February 2020), which is known for its mosaic animation, now has taken the reins for finishing this saga.
 
Despite the mixed feedback, audiences are becoming more accustomed to Mappa’s unique style of blending 2D animation with CGI. 

For a quick recap of the initial premise, Attack On Titan is set in a world where humanoid giants referred to as Titans roam the countryside of Paradis Island. 

In response the people of the island built walls to protect themselves from the Titans; Thus enduring over nearly over centuries of peace until one day, a large Titan, referred to as the Colossal Titan, broke down the first wall. 

With one of the walls, Wall Mira, broken down, the people of Paradis [sic] lost 70% of their territory. After retreating into Wall Rose, Eren Yeager (MC) swore revenge on the Titans to one day wipe them all out. Beyond the initial storyline, the show has evolved to become a much more complex narrative.
This series has always held a reputation for its stellar animation. Even after being taken under the wing of Mappa, it still maintains its aesthetic. For instance, The choreography of the action scenes throughout the course of the show have always been executed well. Each movement is animated smoothly, each shot is detailed and meticulously placed. When incorporated into the full sequence, an adrenaline-fueled experience is blasted on screen. 

Mappa has also added another layer of depth to the series by uzliting rotoscoping technology. Rotoscoping really plays into the series’ gritty aesthetic of realism, allowing dialogue-heavy episodes come off as intensely introspective.   

Attack On Titan, on its debut, was perceived as an action-packed roller coaster, showcasing a simple tale of man-eating beasts overtaking human civilization. But over time it has presented itself as a case study analyzing the human condition as a whole. 

The story makes the audience realize that the world does not function under a hero’s journey plot. Every single character has their own reasoning for why they set course on a certain path. 

All the conflicts are sparked due to difference in agendas, colliding with each other like atoms. No one will be willing to budge. Yet Isayama constructed the architecture of the story to make us feel empathy for all sides. 

Even characters that were considered antagonists have their backgrounds explored in depth, conveying a message that even antagonists are still just humans in this world.  
Protagonist Eren Yeager, throughout the course of the story comes to these realizations. At first he is hell-bent on wiping out everyone of one of the Titans ,seeing anyone who stands in his way as an enemy who is completely faceless. But the world forces him to evolve. 

The more he learns about the truth of the Titans, about what the world out the walls is really like, and that some of his allies were actually his enemies the whole time, his perspective evolves.  He is able to sympathize with his enemies and even conclude that they are the same people. He, however, comes to another realization: In this world you can’t stop out of pity or you’ll never be able to achieve your goals. 

So despite his broadened perspective, he knows that he can’t abandon his overall objective. At the end of the day, even though his enemies might be the same in terms of situation, pain, and upbringing he still pushes forward. He will have to take them out by any means in order to achieve his goals. 
Isayama’s once obscure dystopian action manga has evolved to become a commentary for the human condition in animated form. 

Despite still starting off as a series an individual could enjoy for its action,it has transformed into a very thought-provoking work that will make Attack On Titan stand out, regardless of the studio behind it or its specific adaptations.  

I would recommend this series to anyone who not just enjoys well-paced fight scenes, enjoys drama heavy plot, or introspective character arcs.

 All those factors are just a surplus in the larger scheme of this story. It’s the world building, compelling themes, thought-provoking story telling, tear-jerking moments and overall spirit of the show as a whole which makes Attack On Titan unique. 

This show is a must watch for anyone, regardless of demographic. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy anime as a medium or not, the quality makes Attack On Titan a must-watch. 
Artwork created and Distributed by MAPPA Studio

Manga written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

The Leonid editors weigh in on flexible instruction snow days

Kaitlyn Resline

Editor-in-Chief

I have mixed feelings about snow flex days. While I appreciate the fact that we will no longer have to make up snow days and lose holidays, I mourn the loss of the snow days of my youth. Having a random day off to go play in the snow excites me more than staring at a computer.

However, I felt relieved that the school district announced the snow day in advance. This meant that I no longer had to wake up early only to get a delay call, and get ready only to find out school was cancelled. Knowing in advance adds to the benefit of not having to make up days.

The worst part about the flexible instruction days is the work. I find myself having a hard time focusing to get any of the assignments done. On top of those, I have to finish long term assignments for classes as well. With no separation of work in my day, I spend a lot of time trying to sit and focus. I like using Google Meets to see my classmates, but once they are over, I realize it is lunch time, and I still have not completed any work that is due. 

The idea of flexible instruction for snow days is beneficial, but I enjoy an old fashioned snow day and in person instruction much better. 


Max Vigue

Multimedia Content Editor

The online school day is a relatively unexplored ocean of opportunities. However, this opens the flood gates to a whole new tidal wave of issues.  

The idea of an online school day, from what I have seen, is very unpopular with students. I yearn for the idle feeling of a snow day, which may now become a relic of a much radically different time. A snow day jumps out like a surprise, but a welcome one, as it is accompanied by a sensation of coziness and relaxation without departing from where you reside. A snow day turns a day out of the long year into an escapist fantasy, giving the mind a period of hibernation, allowing yourself to slowly recharge. 

Issues will present themselves as we continue to venture down the stream. Besides being unpopular with students, schools across the world grapple with students who have to battle frequent internet issues or no internet access at all. Since attendance is managed through Google Meet sessions, many students could risk receiving an unexcused absence. This issue could sink students down into an unnecessary spiral of stress. 

From my observations, many students cannot adjust to online learning as well as some others, as they shine through in their education by being in front of a teacher. For instance, my brother is able to soak up more information, and perform with a surplus of efficiency in a normal brick and mortar setting. 

Academia is changing more rapidly in this unconventional time, mostly for the better. But that does not mean we turn a blind eye to the potential set of issues that will emerge. In 2020 it’s live and die by the sword. 


Genevieve Turner

Sports Editor

A FID (flexible instruction day) day is a better option in the long run for students. While one might complain in the moment about having to do school work on a snow day, in the long run, it will save students time for summer break because there is no need to make up missed snow days. I diligently complete my work as well as manage my time, there should be no reason that others can’t do the same so they can also enjoy the snow day as well. 

Currently, while the world is in an unconventional time, many schools will still opt to do FID days on what would have been a snow day. These days help further education by there not being a gap between learning times. They also help with keeping spring break as long as it possibly can be because there is no need to make up snow days. The same is with the end of the school year. 


Shana Carey

Opinions Editor and Marketing Editor

Living in Pennsylvania, snowy days are far from over, but school districts across the nation are creating flexible instruction days in order to keep students’ minds sharp. 

After hearing Tuesday afternoon that I did not have to get up at 6 a.m.  the next day due to impending weather, I was jumping with joy, but tomorrow’s workload quickly set me straight. 

After nearly 10 straight hours of working, I found myself with assignments still due in just about every single one of my classes. Going into Thursday, I had to attend Google Meets with my classes in addition to my usual hybrid workload. Over the course of two days, I found myself busier than I have ever been in my entire life. 

Working remotely turned snow days from quality childhood memories to a major migraine. Sure, it’s nice to not have to make days up in the Summer, but there is something to be said about taking a day off and having an extreme snowball fight with a hot chocolatey prize.

“Solo Leveling” — a Webtoon Review

Reflection: How a fantasy webtoon captured the grimy reality of our world

By Max Vigue

Multimedia-Content Editor 

As content online continues to spread across the internet, media such as comics and manga have blown up across the digital landscape. Webtoons can trace their origins back to the early 2000s. It was a niche style of comics similar to manga that was not that well known. Unlike it’s Japanese counterpart, it tended to be in full color and a lot shorter.  

Solo Leveling is a Korean manhwa (webnovel) written by Chu-gong, art created by Gi So-Ryeong and Jang Song-Rak, and published by D’and C Media. It is distributed in English by Webnovel and Tappy-Toons.
It is a fantasy action Webtoon, following our main character Sung Jin Woo. The setting takes place in a reality similar to ours, however mysterious objects known as “gates” start appearing. 
Along with people across the planet undergoing a process known as “awakening”, in which they gain superhuman abilities. These people become “Hunters”, forming organizations known as “guilds” to traverse the dungeons which lie beyond the gate. 

Sung Jin Woo is the weakest Hunter in this world, and often undergoes lots of self-torment. He perceives himself as worthless due to his status. But after a near death experience, in a failed dungeon raid, he experiences a “reawakening” in which a Hunter’s power is either amplified, or completely changed.

However, in a rare occurrence, Jin-Woo only morphs into more of an anomaly when his power is aided by an unknown otherworldly force from where the secrets of the gates lie. His power is the ability to continuously get stronger or level up, through this outside force referred to as “the system”.  
In the course of this story, we see the progression of Sung Jin-Woo from a low E-class hunter, to becoming the renowned Shadow Monarch. 

I really think this story is not a new idea, but a refined take on the power fantasy trope. In most mainstream franchises such as Avengers, Dragon Ball, and Star Wars, we see our heroes build their power from the ground up. 

They use this power to protect the ones around them after a traumatizing event. But these motives, while believable, don’t fully capture the more gritty reality of what a normal person might become in those situations. 
In stories like Attack on Titan, the protagonist goes through a traumatizing event which shakes him to the core. But through the course of the story, we see him change as his black and white perception of the world is shifted by the grey nature of reality. 

A similar approach is taken with this story. The main character originally saw things through a very simplistic moral compass. Due to the nature of his circumstances, requirements that need to be met by the system, and the nearly almost impossible situations he must overcome, his psyche and mindset gradually change over time into a more gritty but realistic doctrine. 

What makes Solo Leveling stand out among emerging webtoons is not only just its sleek art and fast-paced action, but also its primary narrative enchants the viewer, wrapping the audience into the setting. 
Solo Leveling is a story primarily focused on providing an entertaining tale, while at the same time giving an introspective commentary on the human condition and how the world can’t be seen through a tinted glass.  
Solo Leveling is a webtoon that I recommend to any high school student and adults, as this is an M-rated (16 and Up) series. But the story will have you addicted. This is the kind of story that will have you on edge. You will most likely binge-read this series, potential reading the first 30 chapters in one sitting. It has an immersive narrative, adrenaline-packed action sequences, and very modern but satisfying art. 
Solo Leveling Art created by Gi So-Ryeong and Jang Song-Rak
Solo Leveling Art created by Gi So-Ryeong and Jang Song-Rak

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use

Social media creates conflicts about Covid-19 coping skills

By Emily Ankers

Editor-in-Chief

During times of crisis or struggle, it isn’t uncommon to see people using social media in order to deal with the strong emotions they are feeling. With the drastic change in everyday life caused by Covid-19, more and more people have been swarming different social media sites to address their frustrations. 

  Among those using social media to reach out to loved ones and bring attention to their concerns during this trying time are those using social media to make jokes and entertaining content about the pandemic surrounding them. This behavior raises the question of whether or not what these people are doing is harmful or if it is a way of coping with the changes in life.

  In many of these social media posts that are meant to be jokes or to entertain, a common theme is to state that they are ready to contract the virus or to make fun of those who are taking the virus seriously. These behaviors could be viewed as insulting to those afflicted with the virus or those who are frontline workers.

  However, the majority of those posting this type of content are from generations rooted in dark or offensive humor as a way to cope with situations they cannot control or that frighten them. It is important to remember that the actions on social media do not always reflect a person’s true character. Most often, those on social media create a persona and act differently than what is normal for them in order to look a certain way. 

The times we are in are difficult for everyone to adjust to and cope with. While some may view the content being shared as immature and ignorant, it can also be viewed as a coping mechanism. The posts and content created is often for entertainment and allows for individuals to feel connected to one another through a shared sense of humor or belief.

The content being consumed by individuals worldwide is sharing a unique story that everyone can relate to because everyone is experiencing it. While the humor may not fit everyone’s taste, it allows a distraction for a moment from the struggles each individual is facing.

Instead of relying on social media to vent your frustrations during these times, there are many alternatives to try. Some of these alternatives include journaling in a private diary, meditating, screaming into your pillow, or binge-watching a favorite show or movie to distract yourself.

Graphic by Flickr portrays some of the primary social media sites being used at this time. These sites are often where the content is being shared among millions.

Viewpoint: Traditional Graduation vs. Virtual Graduation

By Ryelee Stone                      

Opinions Editor

Black and gold decorations have filled Horn Field at the Red Lion Area Senior High School every year for the highly awaited graduation ceremony that celebrates the seniors. Unfortunately this year, the class of 2020 is not able to have this special moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Students that attend the Red Lion Area School District were informed on March 13 that the next two weeks they would not attend school because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Governor Tom Wolfe later announced that all Pennsylvania schools will be closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

Governor Wolf has stated that the coronavirus outbreak has “made it impossible” to hold a traditional graduation ceremony. Secretary of Health, Rachel Levine, says that students may not even be able to attend school in person next year in the fall, much less have a graduation ceremony for the class of 2020.

To reopen the state, Wolf has a color system on when certain regions are allowed to start resuming to normal life. York County had been in the “red” phase and on the stay-at-home order until June 4.

While some students were excited about their “coronacation,” others realized all the events and opportunities they would be missing out on. Seniors were hit the hardest because they were not able to have their last spring sports season, a senior class trip, prom, or the rest of their high school experience.

With the coronavirus stealing many special memories from all students, but especially seniors, a traditional graduation ceremony should not be taken away as well.

Currently, a graduation committee is planning to have a virtual graduation for the class of 2020 on Friday, June 5, at 6:45 PM. “Our hope is that the students can dress in their caps and gowns, watch the ceremony from the safety of their homes, to hear the different speeches and the reading of the names of all of our graduates, and celebrate with loved ones,” said head principal Mark Shue in an email that was sent to students and parents.

Although it is not a traditional graduation ceremony, it is an attempt to honor the students and their last high school year coming to an end. However, this was still upsetting for many people because these students put years of work into their educational careers and will now not be able to walk a stage and be handed their diploma in front of a cheering crowd.

Although it is understandable that it will not be safe to hold a graduation ceremony at this time, the school’s administration should be doing more or looking at other options to make this special tradition be the best that it can be. Students should be able to receive their diploma wearing their caps and gowns in front of those who love, care, and support them throughout their educational journey.

For some students, they do not have any significant memories of winning their first game or meet on a high school sporting team. Those same teenagers may not have participated in any extracurricular activities or had the best high school experience, so their main positive memory of their success would be a graduation ceremony. 

Instead of canceling the ceremony early, they should have postponed it until August instead. Some parents and community members felt that they made this call too early on and could have waited to see all of the possible choices. Postponing this event would have shown that the administration fully cares about the voices of the students, parents, and the community.

Another option for this dilemma is that students could be handed their diplomas while wearing their caps and gowns by the principal in front of their families one by one. This process would be very time consuming but would show that the administration values traditional, meaningful graduations and the opinions of everyone. 

This one-on-one graduation substitution could span over a series of days late in the summer to ensure that the health of everyone is being prioritized. This option would allow students to be in proper graduation attire and let family members capture a special moment in their seniors’ life. Even though it would not be a traditional graduation ceremony, this would be the closest choice that still holds some of the aspects and feelings of one. 

By attempting to have a virtual graduation, it almost seems as if everyone is trying to conclude these challenging circumstances. Everyone wants to start over and have life return to “normal,” so certain events are not being carried out to their full capacity at a later date. Sports banquets, birthday parties, and more have all been cut short because people want to forget about this time in history.

Substitutions to everyday activities and special events during the Covid-19 outbreak are starting to seem like something cool and memories that can still be appreciated, simply because it is something different to what we are used to experiencing. Although virtual conversations and other substitutions to life are better than nothing, it should not be seen as equivalent to traditional events that hold sentimental value to everyone across the nation. 

Because so many exciting events and special occasions have been already taken away from students, the graduation committee should be trying even harder to fulfill the needs and wants of everyone when regarding a graduation ceremony. These seniors deserve closure from high school experience, especially since they were cheated of their last school year.

While this pandemic has been extremely challenging for all, it is not an excuse to fail to give the class of 2020 a meaningful graduation that they fully deserve. For some students, this was a moment that they were dreaming of their whole lives because it signals their success and a new chapter of their life alongside those they grew up with.

Even though it is not safe at this time to hold a traditional graduation ceremony, more options should be considered so the seniors have a true memory of them officially graduating after years of hard work and dedication. However, it is important for all of us to keep in mind that safety comes first and that these questionable times have impacted everyone in various shapes and forms.

The views and opinions expressed at TheLeonid.com are those of the authors and do no necessarily reflect the official policy of The Leonid or of Red Lion Area School District. Any content provided by our bloggers is of their own opinion and is not meant to malign or cause harm to any individual or entity.

Should technology be allowed in school?

By Ryelee Stone                    

Opinions Editor

A pool of students stroll into their classroom while their teacher is sitting at their desk in the corner. As the students get settled into their own seats, they pull out their laptops since it has become their everyday routine.

In present times, schools are frequently using technology in the education system. Many schools now provide personal devices that students are expected to use daily in class and at home to complete assignments.

However, in the past few years, teachers use technology excessively in classrooms to the point where it is detrimental to both themselves and to their students.

Because of technology, students are becoming lazier. Looking up the answers to worksheets, reading short summaries of books, and cheating on online tests has never been easier. 

This topic is becoming more widespread across the country, so researchers began to dive into the subject. Joy Crelin reported in her 2017 article entitled “Tablets and Laptops in School: An Overview” in the Points of View Reference Center, that students are more distracted and are able to cheat at the fault of technology.

Students do not think for themselves as much compared to the adults who attended school just a decade ago. The younger generation’s brains are not challenged because all of the answers are at the touch of their fingers, they no longer have to think for themselves in certain situations. 

Another reason kids are not critically thinking is because they have lost the appreciation for education as a whole. Students used to be hungry for knowledge but with technology information is accessible in a matter of seconds, so there is not the same desire for knowledge.

People who disagree that students in today’s education system cannot problem-solve for themselves are simply ignoring this possibility. Technology is impacting how students learn and think, so society needs to agree on a reasonable solution to this issue.

Not only is technology a concern for educational purposes, but it is also affecting the health of students. There are students who are on their laptops in every class period when teenagers are supposed to have limits on the amount of screen time they are exposed per day.

The health of teenagers, and all generations, is a serious matter that needs to be taken into consideration at all times. The article entitled “Screen Time Guidelines for Teens” from 2020 on the KidsHealth website, which is reviewed by medical experts, says that teenagers need consistent limits on any technology use. Technology use in school falls under the umbrella of screen time for teenagers, so there should be limitations on device use in the education system.

Teenagers want screen time for recreational use as well as school, so all of their screen time should not be spent at school. Not all parents will set screen time limits for their children, so students will spend hours using technology at school and at home as a result.

Some see technology as a tool to have students be engaged in their work because it can be more entertaining and teach them new skills. There are a variety of different activities that can be completed because of technology that are very useful and can provide students with a different learning perspective on subjects.

However, there are teachers who simply find online activities to give to their students so the teachers can sit at their desks and do their own work. Students can then type into Google the assignment’s name and find multiple results for the answers. 

What happened to the days when teachers would communicate with their students throughout the entire class period and when teachers did not rely on laptops, iPads, and other devices to educate?

When teachers communicate with their students, information about various subjects can be clearer and explained better. This key communication also prepares students for the future when they will need to be able to properly talk and respond to bosses, co-workers, and other people.

Technology is a powerful tool and should be used in schools, however, it should not be used excessively. Only using computers for entire class periods at a time is not beneficial for students or teachers in the education system.

The administration of schools and other leaders in the education system should take the time to consider the benefits of using less technology in school. Not only will students think more for themselves without constantly using technology, but their educational careers and health will also improve.

A reasonable limit on how much time students are allowed to use technology per class period would be able to give students the opportunity to use technology, but it would not abuse this tool. This solution would provide what both sides of the argument want, the use of technology but not to an excessive point.

Even if students are only on their laptops for half of their class period as a limit then it would be beneficial to their health and overall education. In addition, teachers could make their lesson plans not solely based on technology and create hands-on activities.

Gym class: the unavoidable burden for student-athletes

By Julia Beiler                 

Sports editor

Across many schools in Pennsylvania, students are required to take a certain number of physical education classes in their four years of high school in order to graduate. It’s inevitable that all students need this required activity.

The state of Pennsylvania says that no matter who you are or what you are doing throughout the school you are required to take your necessary gym classes to graduate. It doesn’t matter if you march in the band or swing bats on a field, all students need to take gym. 

But why is it truly required in the first place? According to Shape America, that state requires all students to pass physical education classes. They also say that schools are not permitted to allow students to substitute their required gym classes with any other form of activity. This means that if a student is participating in a school sport, they are still required to take gym classes. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) states directly that, “Health and physical education provides students with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to achieve and maintain a physically active and healthful life, not only during their time in school but for a lifetime.” 

Laziness, obesity, and inactiveness are what is supposed to be prevented by having to take gym classes. It is shown through student-athletes are already preventing these things, PDE also says, “Children who are healthy and physically active increase their chances of achieving to their highest academic potential and are better able to handle the demands of today’s hectic schedules.”

Gym classes are trying to exploit physical exercise within the students in the school. Although this makes sense for those who aren’t active, it doesn’t quite match with the large quantity who are already participating in sports. 

The stereotypes of, “All athletes are jocks” or “The smarter class doesn’t come from student-athletes” have been around for ages. Perhaps these stereotypes are true about athletes, but the time most students put toward their studies, these athletes are putting into practices and games. 

Athletes don’t need the added one-hour class of physical education to try and maintain their physical well being. That hour could improve their work management instead of managing extra exercise. That hour could help bring out the “student” in “student-athlete”.

According to Scholarship Stats, only around seven percent of athletes play at the collegiate level after high school, which is a one in fourteen chance. That means that on a high school varsity team, an average of one teammate will go onto the next level. With these statistics, the odds are not favoring a higher level past high school.

Knowing this, high school sports will be the most competitive level of athletics that most varsity athletes will participate in. These athletes are putting most of their time and dedication to succeeding in their sport because there won’t be another game or practice after they graduate. 

Let’s say an average team practice for five days of the week for two hours, that’s ten hours a week. If an athlete is already participating in at least ten hours of activity per week, why should that time be extended for them with a gym class?

Anyone who takes a gym class will get as much out of it as they put in. Knowing that they might have a game or a practice that night, might not motivate them to run a mile or throw medicine balls around in the gym. It takes the point out of having this class in the first place if these athletes aren’t going to put their effort in to begin with.

These days sports aren’t just in season for two or three months out of the year. Sports have evolved into year-round participation for most athletes. It’s no longer just a few months: it’s 12 months of the year dedicated to winning and competing. So when people suggest that their “in-season” sport will be over soon, they don’t see the depth of what sports are truly like these days. “Out-of-season” has turned into the usual and the norm. 

If the state is saying that students are required to meet these goals and student-athletes are proving to have already met these goals, why are these certain students still being required to take gym classes? The state needs to change these rules considering student-athletes are easily surpassing the components that go into a gym class. 

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