This front-page story was cut short and not continued in Volume IX, Issue V of the Hawk Headlines. The staff of the Hawk Headlines strives to produce the best newspaper possible and apologizes for this error. Please enjoy the complete story below:
The Woodland Physical Education program has been in existence since the school opened its doors in 2001; the class has touched upon activities ranging from the typical – basketball, hockey, volleyball and dodgeball – to the outlandish – yoga, badminton and archery. One area, however, has never been touched.
Despite Woodland’s excellent aquatic facilities, the Physical Education classes have never ventured into the pool. This month, the longstanding exodus was nearly ended.
“We haven’t been allowed to use the pool in the past for different reasons,” said Ray Donaghy, Woodland Physical Education teacher and trainer. “The Board [of Education] or the Superintendent hasn’t allowed us in because of what they felt were safety restrictions.”
Donaghy and his fellow teachers were excited to begin their new program. Donaghy planned to begin the swimming unit this month, until the Administration put the breaks on the program.
Dr. Frank, Woodland principal, believes that the Physical Education teachers were a bit too hasty when deciding to start swimming in class.
“I think that there are issues we need to talk about: Is it mandatory? Is it voluntary? What’s the uniform? What about somebody that doesn’t want to swim? I think we have to be a little more clear about it,” said Dr. Arnold Frank, Woodland principal.
Although Donaghy says that “the dress code is going to be whatever anyone feels comfortable wearing in the pool” (i.e., T-shirts, shorts, etc.), students may still feel self-conscious. Teenagers feel uncomfortable being seen by their peers in bathing suits, whether it be a one-piece or a two-piece.
Alyssa Klancic, Woodland junior and News Editor, is a student in Donaghy’s gym class. She feels that more planning needs to be done before the swimming program is instituted at Woodland.
“I think that swimming in gym should be optional because there needs to be more regulations than there currently are. I think that forcing students to swim will make a lot of people feel uncomfortable – boys as well as girls,” said Klancic.
According to Donaghy, however, the Woodland Physical Education teachers have planned the swimming program extensively.
“Right now I’m in the middle of formulating a parent notification slip detailing everything that’s going to happen in the pool and answering a lot of the same questions that you’re asking right now,” said Donaghy.
In addition, the Physical Education department traveled to Newington High School to watch their swim program, which Donaghy says is the top in the state. The new Woodland program will “use a lot of the same protocols and procedures that they use,” said Donaghy.
The juniors and seniors in Donaghy’s A-block class were able to swim before the Administration put a hold on the idea.
“They were reluctant to go in, but after we got out it was not as bad as they thought it would be; they had a great time and they’re going to want to get back into the pool,” said Donaghy of his class.
Despite the optimism of the Woodland Physical Education department, some students are skeptical about the idea.
“Many people aren’t very secure with their body image,” said Mike Krakowski, Woodland junior. “I feel that [swimming in school] is exposing them to the insecurities that they don’t want exposed. They will be forced to wear a bathing suit and a lot of people aren’t comfortable wearing one.”
Others, like freshman Chris Zmuda, aren’t entirely against the program.
“If the kids want to go swimming in class they should be allowed to, but they shouldn’t be forced to swim,” he stated.
Woodland students who are nervous about swimming in their next Physical Education class can rest easy, however. According to Frank, swimming is unlikely to occur at Woodland this school year.
“I don’t know that we’ll get it all figured out for this year. It is possible, but most likely it will start next year.”
Photo credit: Rachael Conti