The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

Midway will be taking a break over the summer
After reminiscing with fond memories, Class of 2024 graduates in Rockefeller Chapel

Audio: P.E. electives allow ninth graders to grow their enjoyment of P.E.

Estelle Levinson
With the installment of P.E. electives, students have more agency over what physical activities they engage in during the day.

It’s a warm and bright Tuesday afternoon in Sunny Gymnasium, while Meghan Janda’s 7th period P.E. class is actively engaged in an energetic volleyball match, high-fiving and encouraging each other with every play.

Unlike middle school, due to the elective process, this high school P.E. elective is made up of ninth graders, sophomores and juniors. The elective process allows ninth graders to grow with more freedom for them to choose their own classes based on their interests. 

Maddie Baker, ninth grader, said she enjoys the P.E. electives a lot, especially the units she can connect with outside of school, such as dance. 

“The PE rotations make PE more enjoyable because we have more authority by listing our choices, which makes it more enjoyable because now I don’t have to do something I would never want to do in a million years.”

Zoe Cobb, another ninth grader, likes the rotations too, as it gives her space to do an activity she enjoys. 

“I really like the rotations, I’ve been in lifeguarding for most of the year and I like having more freedom, where people are running the track, I can do what I enjoy. It’s also nice to switch classmates and meet new people.”

Growing up in the Laboratory Schools environment, students are told to make good choices, but much of the time choices are limited or the choices are made for them. 

Zoe said she appreciates the freedom that comes with leaving the middle school P.E. program and entering the U-High P.E. program, which offers a variety of electives to choose from. 

Adam Justice, Lab’s newest P.E. teacher, thinks the electives are a great way for high school students to have more freedom to find classes for the social and physical aspect of school.

“The electives are great, because it gives you guys the opportunity to, hopefully, pick something you are a little bit more interested in rather than the P.E. teacher making you play soccer or  making you play volleyball. There is definitely some importance in doing that when you’re in middle school because otherwise people will pigeon-hole themselves into ‘I’m a soccer player,’ ‘I’m a basketball player.’ I think the difference comes, when you go from eighth to ninth, you begin to enjoy different things for different reasons. You go for the social as much as the competition.”

With choosing classes students enjoy, comes the anxiety of performing in front of others.  

Maddie said she doesn’t necessarily mind performing in front of others. Because she is a dancer, but still she  prefers to preform in a group.

While Maddie doesn’t mind performing, Mr. Justice said he never forces students to perform because he understands the workload students at Lab receive and the amount of anxiety, which comes with performing in front of others. 

Apart from choosing electives students enjoy, it creates growth opportunities for students to manage their time well.

Zoe said the electives really help her friends who are not able to work out after school, so they choose an elective that enables them to make better use of their time and work out during school. 

Mr. Justice is able to express how U-High students have more ownership over their education.  

“They have a bit more ownership over their education, which I think is important for people to be invested in and certainly lower down the school, in fifth, seventh and eighth, it’s a bit more of me in front of the classroom, talking and teaching.” (1:50-2:04)

With this ownership, comes greater maturity and with that comes more responsibility and trust. Maddie and Zoe both say teachers give them more trust in highschool than in middle school, which increases their ability to do more activities in PE.

Sounds: Mr. Justice’s dance class chattering.

For the U-High Midway, I’m Juliana Daugherty.          

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About the Contributors
Juliana Daugherty
Juliana Daugherty, Reporter
Juliana Daugherty is a member of the Class of 2027 and serves as a reporter. She began writing for the Midway in the 2023-24 school year as a ninth grader. Outside of journalism she is one of the PR managers of U-High film society. She loves to read, listen to music, and spend time with friends and family.
Estelle Levinson
Estelle Levinson, Photographer
Estelle Levinson is a beginning photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2026. Her favorite part of photojournalism is taking photos of school events. Outside of photojournalism, Estelle enjoys seeing friends and family and playing tennis. 

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