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    The end of gym class brings new class, Freshman Foundations

    The gym is often empty on school day now that freshmen take Freshman Foundations. Photo by Jack Donaldson
    The gym is often empty on school day now that freshmen take Freshman Foundations. Photo by Jack Donaldson

    The physical education and health class was a staple in the Gonzaga freshman curriculum for ages. However, after the departure of the infamous Mr. Joe Jackson and Mr. Alvin Maddox, who had taught the class for decades and who recently retired, the class has been replaced. Freshman Foundations took the place of health and physical education as of the fall of 2021.

    Freshman Foundations is a freshman exclusive class that helps freshmen prepare for their time at Gonzaga and set them up for success. Students still have a health portion of the class like they did in previous years, but they also have a technological piece, a research portion and a guidance piece that aids freshmen with time management in their new environment. 

    A group of freshmen hang out in the Upper Commons. Photo by Jack Donaldson

    “There are a lot of takeaways from health and library research; there is counseling, as well,” said Max Killen, freshman. 

    Although some freshmen think the class can be dull at times, they do recognize the helpfulness and importance of the Freshman Foundations course.

    Despite the praise surrounding the Freshman Foundations course, some upperclassmen lament the end of a Gonzaga tradition.

    “Gym class was an excellent tool to bring the freshman class together and allow them to meet people they would otherwise not interact with in a fun environment,” said Charlier Scherer, senior. 

    This raises the question: was it a good move on the part of the administration to do away with physical education at Gonzaga? 

    “It’s hard to say if so far we are kind of achieving those goals. I personally would say, I think [we are] for the most part, especially this year being the second year. I feel we are getting better each year,” said Ms. Shannen Milletary, librarian who leads the research portion of Freshman Foundations.

    For decades, Physical Education was a staple, and anyone who had a dad who went to Gonzaga since 1981 took the same class taught by the same teachers. The character that Mr. Maddox and Mr. Jackson instilled in the future of Gonzaga was a crucial part of the freshman experience. 

    “I would want to take gym class if the old coaches were still here,”Killen said. 

    Physical Education also was a good outlet for activity and social interaction. For students who do not play sports, it was a good chance to spend some time with friends lifting weights, playing sports or participating in other forms of physical activity. The CDC recommends that a teenage boy should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day.With after school commitments and homework, this can be hard to fit in for students who do not play a sport. A Physical Education class would meet this requirement of 60 minutes of exercise into student’s busy days. 

    Freshman Foundations does give guidance in some regard.

    Sophomore Jack Eich claims that he did not feel as overwhelmed his freshman year with the addition of the course, and although it can be “kind of dull and slow” at times, the course had its times of use.

    Furthermore, the decision to keep Freshman Foundations depends on how high the administration holds the values taught by the course.  

    Ms. Milletary states, “I think that PE would let them you know run some of that energy, force them to interact in another way.”

    Freshman Foundations is still a young class at Gonzaga; although its future is uncertain, it has potential to develop into an excellent opportunity for the underclassmen on Eye Street. 

    “As Freshman Foundations evolves, because there are four courses under the Freshman Foundations umbrella, maybe coach Kevin Reily, who teaches the health potion will develop a physical education/training portion within Freshman Foundations,” Ms. Milletary said. 

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