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The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Students have pick of wellness electives

Wellness electives give students an opportunity to exercise during the day and earn a sports credit.

Only about 1 in 4 high school students get the recommended hour a day of physical activity, according to statistics from the American Heart Association.

For wellness electives, students can choose from a long list of courses, including swimming, net games, yoga classes, strength and conditioning, rock climbing and dance classes. In addition, all students must take Lifetime Wellness in their freshman year. However, further wellness classes are optional if students participate in a sport.

Swimming, for example, is divided into two semesters. The first semester is geared toward beginner and intermediate swimmers, while the second semester is for advanced swimmers. Grindstaff said swimming is open to anyone regardless of their level of experience.

“I have a lot more beginning swimmers, but if they find themselves in the middle, I want to make sure that they know that they can take either course,” Grindstaff said. “The first semester is definitely wanting to make sure that anybody who doesn’t know how to swim for safety, for recreation, for fun, that they do know how to swim.”

According to Grindstaff, swimming was switched from A-block to G-block this year because many students did not like swimming during the first period.

“Not a lot of people wanted to come and jump in the pool A-block, so we switched it to G-block,” Grindstaff said. “It would be at the end of the day, so people could go home to shower if they really wanted to, just knowing that they don’t have to get dressed and ready for another class.”

In advanced swimming, students who already know how to swim can use the pool for fitness after passing a test.

Grindstaff said students get trained for jobs such as lifeguarding and can get jobs through the school.

“It’s a great way to do a free certification to get lifeguard certified,” Grindstaff said. “We have resources and people are always looking for lifeguards, and it’s a great summer job that pays well.”
Grindstaff said she wants swimming to become more popular because she appreciates the growth in students who haven’t learned how to swim or are beginner swimmers.

“That to me is promoting their lifetime of enjoyment in the water, and to make sure that they’re safe,” said Grindstaff. “People are going to find themselves in the water or near the water at some point in their life, and I want them to be able to enjoy it.”

In the Net Games course, students play games involving a net, including badminton, tennis, tchoukball and more. The classes are divided into different units, and the students have tournaments to decide who the champion of each sport is.

Grindstaff said that while yoga classes are usually students’ favorite, Net Games are becoming more popular.

“I do feel like yoga is a big popular class. I think net games are gaining in popularity because there’s a lot of variety.”

Liz Gorman teaches yoga, rock climbing and Spanish. Gorman used to rock climb for fun before she became a teacher. Gorman said rock climbing gives students a fun and exciting experience.

“Climbing is really fun; you climb on walls, and you crawl on mats, and swing on ropes and balance on slacklines,” Gorman said. “I think it’s good to reconnect with other parts of yourself.”

Gorman started yoga to support her climbing but realized it made her feel good and helped manage her stress.

“If you need to stretch, you need unwinding, or it just helps you throughout the school day,” Gorman said. “Yoga classes outside of school cost a lot of money, so it’s an opportunity to learn these skills for free.”

Grindstaff said yoga is for students who are interested in the mind-body connection.

“It’s for students who want a slower-paced wellness class and who are interested in promoting overall wellness,” said Grindstaff. “ It’s not necessarily just muscles and cardio.”

Sophomore Naomi Brinkley said her yoga classes are soothing and help her relieve stress.

“It’s a very relaxing time. Everybody’s different, so I know for other people that it could be very difficult for them,” Brinkley said. “We’re learning mountain pose and we’re doing a lot of fun stuff.”

Gorman said taking a wellness class is crucial to learning at school, and many students feel better after leaving the class.

“The body is meant to move, and to be in a learning-ready state. We need to move our bodies,” Gorman said. “It’s very difficult to sit still all day long in a classroom, whether it’s an interactive class or not.”

According to Gorman, wellness classes are also great for mental health, and the classes are opportunities to do something new and positive for your body.

“In the case of yoga, it’s stretching, positive thinking, paying attention to your body, noticing your stress levels, learning to breathe, learning strategies for dissipating stress, there are tons of benefits,” Gorman said. “For climbing, we put on music, we climb, we work out, we laugh and people leave in a better mood. It cheers me up and gives me a reset.”

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