The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

Pilot PE Program Prospers

Derrick Lewis
PEDAL TO THE MEDAL | In the Texas heat, PE students cycled around Austin. This experience offered students an opportunity to engage with sports they otherwise wouldn’t have.

From skating under neon lights in a roller skating rink to trying on a fencing mask for the first time, LASA students had the opportunity to immerse themselves in a multitude of sports this summer. 

Principal Stacia Crescenzi and athletic coordinator Derrick Lewis introduced a summer athletic program for students to provide them the opportunity to get their Physical Education (PE) credit, which is required for graduation, out of the way before the school year starts. The course spanned ten days: the novice class took place from June 12 to June 16, and the advanced class took place from June 26 to June 30. Students had the option of participating in one week of the program, which would earn them half of the credit, or two weeks, which would earn them the full PE credit.

Unlike traditional schools, LASA doesn’t offer a PE class, meaning students must join a school sport or get an off-campus PE credit approved. Lewis hopes that this new program will be more appealing for students in need of a PE credit and also teach them valuable lessons about health.

“A lot of kids that go to LASA don’t necessarily want to play a sport, but they have to get a PE credit, so we thought this would be a fun way to introduce different types of sports,” Lewis said. “We also teach them lifelong health skills like CPR, nutrition, tobacco use, all these different elements.” 

Lewis said that the new program could also be a way to get students interested in school sports as a long term commitment. He is able to give suggestions to students about which sports would best suit them based on the athletic ability he observes from them during the program. 

“At the end I’m able to give them a recommendation on a team sport they should join based on their skill set,” Lewis said. “Some of them move better than others in a certain capacity. Like the kids who sprinted faster, I recommend track for them.”

Despite being the inaugural year of the program, over ten kids participated in it each week. Junior Corry Grodek participated in the advanced program and was able to engage in various different activities throughout its course.

“I tried roller skating, climbing, biking, and swimming,” Grodek said. “I had done some of these before, but this time I got more time to try them than I have had in the past. Most days we ate lunch and then took the bus to the activity. We spent a few hours at the activity for that day and then took the bus back.”

THEY SEE ME ROLLING | Participants in the PE pilot course rollerskate at the PlayLand Skate Center. Rollerskating was one of many cardio workouts offered during the summer. (Derrick Lewis)

The program consisted of two different levels, a novice and advanced level. The two different levels were provided to accommodate a broad range of athleticism to give all students an opportunity to satisfactorily complete their PE credit over the summer.

“The novice [program did] less rigorous exercises,” Lewis said. “It was stuff like fencing, where you’re not moving too far, you’re in a short space, but it’s just great cardio work for you. Basic things that everybody should know how to do, but the more you do it, the better you’ll feel about yourself. The advanced class was for those kids who could play those sports. They had to go rock climbing and stuff like that. It was a way to differentiate ability levels that they’ve decided on themselves.”

To have the opportunity to do these activities, students paid a fee of $300 that covered their entrance into facilities, transportation, and other expenses that came up along the way. The class was as long as a traditional school day, lasting from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“They all said they had a good time every day,” Lewis said. “It was hard to get some of them out of there. Students seemed to really enjoy the class, and Principal Crescenzi is planning on continuing it in years to come.

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