The New Wellness System: Living with It and What to Expect


By: Swati Sharma

Last April, a new system was introduced to the Hopkinton High School Wellness Department. In previous years, only freshmen and sophomores were required to take wellness.They had only three semesters of the classroom part of the course, which usually teaches students about drug and alcohol use, the environment, fitness, sexual health, and CPR (along with CPR training) among other topics.

However, that is going to drastically change. Although the class of 2010 will be unaffected, the program will be extended to juniors  in 2010. This has been put in place due to a state mandate. As far as is known, this is something that has never been heard of to date within Hopkinton High School. So what was the reaction of the school to this? Well, it depends on whom you ask.

If you were to ask current freshmen and sophomores, many would be anywhere from slightly disappointed to completely appalled. As one sophomore puts it, “I think it’s unfair to our class because we’ll have to take a total of six semesters, whereas the class before us had to take fewer. Also, it doesn’t make sense to play games that don’t seem to have any relevance, like ‘Hector the Protector’ “.

However, according to the Head of the Wellness Department, Mrs. Jill Leach,  this program is nothing to despair about for both those who like and those who dislike physical education. According to Mrs. Leach, juniors and seniors will only have wellness for one semester, and will not have classroom wellness during that time, making it really only once or twice during the seven day rotation. In fact, as Mrs. Leach said, “There are multiple studies showing that students who are physically active tend to do better in school as well, therefore making exercise more accessible for the legions of high school students (myself included) who cannot fit regular exercise into their daily routine . Also, the Wellness Department is doing its best to see to it that the program appeals to the likings of all sorts of students in terms of actual activity.” She explains that the activities will rotate periodically to suit both students who enjoy more competitive and active sports, such as kickball or soccer; and those who enjoy individual, more peaceful activities, such as yoga. “Wellness is definitely not meant to favor only those who like sports–all students are entitled to enjoying an activity,” stated Mrs. Leach.

As seen here, there are two sides to this somewhat “students vs. teachers” scenario. There is a possibility that due to lack of information and the incomplete development of the new wellness curriculum at this time for juniors and seniors in the years to come, students have received misconceptions and therefore start to dread the new wellness program. Others have simply not enjoyed physical education since elementary school due to the system of exercise that is seemingly forced rather than allowing for a more free-flowing way of being in phys. ed. Perhaps some will be pleasantly surprised with the new wellness curriculum and program, perhaps not.

Look back in October 2009 for an update on the Wellness Curriculum: Actually worth the class time or just a waste of it?