Two Options: Which One’s Better?

Isabel Batista ‘23

After a year of online learning, it was to be expected that there would be some changes when coming back to Ridge. However, it was very unexpected that the standards of Option 2 became not just demanding, but practically impossible. There are a multitude of aspects surrounding whether one qualifies for Option 2, some not even remotely relating to fitness or mental health. These include broad statements such as to “respect and appreciate all levels of ability and encourage with care during all physical activities”. The interpretation of this was if “you have demonstrated respect and encouraged people of all levels to participate in your Option 2 activity”. I, for one, don’t see the correlation of how other people impact this decision, but since the staff is pushing for students to not enroll for Option 2, regular P.E. classes seem to check off all of the requirements that were not met when applying for Option 2. Or at least, that’s what you would think.

I recently created a Google Form and shared it around with several Ridge students taking Physical Education this year. In the form, I took quotes directly from the Option 2 requirements list and modified them to pertain to Physical Education to see if it would check off all the criteria for Option 2. The results were mostly consistent, but not what one would expect. 83.3% of students do not think that P.E. helps improve confidence, skills, and participation, and 72.2% of students are not motivated to continue exercising in the future. One student, who will remain anonymous, says “that gym certainly is very fun, but [they] don’t actually do anything 90% of the time. After a certain point, [they] just became really good at hiding from the teacher so [they] could do [their] work while still getting participation points”. The most shocking result of all, however, is that 91.7% of students would prefer a study hall over their Physical Education class.

Not only does this show that Ridge High School’s P.E. system doesn’t compare to their Option 2 standards, but it also shows the severity of how many students need extra time. Whether it’s to finish homework, have some time for themselves, or just to get a few more minutes of sleep, students are overworked physically and mentally. Although the school is trying to address these matters, they seem to be missing a critical aspect: students have their own lives outside of school. With endless heaps of homework, students are faced with the dilemma of sacrificing one’s free time for the sake of good grades or taking time for themselves in exchange for diminished grades. This is especially relevant for students who partake in sports outside of school. 

If things were ever to change, now is the time. After dealing with hardship after hardship these past couple of years, it is time for a sense of normalcy. It is a problem for certain kids to lie about partaking in outside sports, but this not only punishes them but the people who do need it. Implementing an easier way to sign up for Option 2 would be the first step to fix this, although I do believe there should be requirements such as teacher/coach signatures. So the real question is: when will the school help?