The Athletic Department has announced a new requirement for the 2015 season. Upper school students must participate in a sport or activity for three seasons, rather than just two, to be eligible for an end-of-season athletic graduation certificate.
Previously, students could opt out of one season, while still participating in two team sports.
“The main reason,” says Upper School Head Joseph Iuliano, “was to provide students with a good, healthy experience at school, and to get them to be active so they will be physically healthy.” Iuliano adds that students “physical activity is directly linked to their achievements in the classroom.” Indeed, greater participation in sports leads to reduced stress and anxiety, higher grades, and completing more years of education.
Moreover, research shows that downtime followed by intensive training increases the chances of injury. After a number of athletes suffered from injuries last season, this policy is in part intended to help athletes stay in shape, healthy and on the field.
However, Upper School Senate President Nate Friedman ’16 thinks that the new policy is too one-sided. “I think it is unfair to the actors—the fact that you can get credit for doing basketball, but you cannot get one by participating in a play and learning lines.”
Maya Bousek ’19 agrees, noting the importance of balance in student’s lives. “I think it is good that School wants kids to be active, but they need to take into account that we are very busy with school work.”
While well-intentioned, it remains to be seen how this new requirement will impact students’ other commitments, as well as the School’s athletic program.