by Kardel Howard
When the alarm rings at 6:30 AM, it’s a struggle to get up if you’re exhausted from last night’s practice. Another 300 push-ups, 20 50-yard sprints, 30 bench presses of 180 pounds, after seven classes, including a quiz in geometry, an AP world history debate and a 16-page English paper to revise.
What’s a harder road at McClymonds? Being an athlete or just a regular student?
Being an athlete means always being sore until you’re conditioned. But then, you can’t miss a day. No sick days at all. If you go to practice all week and miss one day, when you go to practice the next day, you feel like a wimp, dizzy, out of shape, out of breath. It’s a commitment, day in and day out. No dabbling in sports.
There’s also the social pressure and stigma attached to being cool. Although athletes are admired as the reigning kings and queens of the social oligarchy, that power only comes from looking and acting cool.
There is fear attached to power. Once a person has had a tiny taste of what it means to rule a school, they will do anything to ensure that power, even if it means sacrificing one’s interests. Camping out for the next Hunger Games movie or Black Ops game is out of the question. We mustn’t do that.
I feel that a non-athlete has more time to experiment. He or she can join different programs like YOLO and Culture Keepers, even if it isn’t “cool,” and meet new people. Non-athletes also have more time to finish their homework and talk to their teachers after school.
An athlete like me has practice every day for two hours and only has study hall for an hour.
After practice, you’re tired. You have to catch the bus home and when you shuffle into the house, all smelly and sweaty, at 10:00, you collapse. You’re lucky if you get into the shower. No time for extra homework.
Since athletes ALWAYS have practice, they do not have time for extra activities like journalism, Student Government, and any other after school programs. This probably limits their chances of being well rounded.
” It is easier being a non-athlete because you don’t have to worry about games, practice and homework,” says Danny Sola, a senior. ” So it’s better to focus on just one thing.”
Her sister, Mickey Sola, a freshman, agrees.” I feel it’s harder to be an athlete because you have to work on sports, project, and daily homework that you get from teachers. The work you get from teacher is already too much.”
As non-athletes, Danny and Mickey believe that athletes do not have it easy and struggle through tests and papers, like everyone else. But they also believe that athletes are graded more easily than others.
I disagree, and I know from experience. In AP World History, my first essay about imperialism earned a D. No second chance to do it over again. So I had to work harder on the next essay, which was on Modern India and Gandhi.
The proof is also in the athletes’ records: Mercedes Latu, a sophomore and girls’ basketball star and discus thrower, and Kelton Runnels, a sophomore and football player, have maintained a 4.0 GPA all year.
As Runnels sees it, “Being an student athlete is difficult. My teachers didn’t just give me a grade because I’m an athlete. I had to earn all my grades.”
But he admits the free tutoring for athletes helps. “Receiving tutoring after school has helped,” he says. “For example, I was doing poorly in geometry and now I have a B+ in the class.”
That kind of help creates jealousy among non-athletes. Alas, there will always be tension and suspicion between the two groups.
Engineers with Swagg: the New Mack Look
by Kardel Howard
McClymonds has a new class — engineering. That means new toys, new tools, and new equipment that students can play with in their newly renovated $60,000 classroom, according to Lynn Baliff, educational consultant.
The new improvements start with the backpacks that were distributed to the Principles of Engineering class. The backpack doubles as a solar-powered cell-phone charger. Its solar panel is sewn into the front of the backpack, and when placed under sunlight, absorbs the energy and transfers that to its solar-charged battery. A USB cord plugs into the charged battery while the other side plugs into the phone; then it charges.
Other equipment includes a “master computer” that allows the teacher to monitor all the computer activity in the classroom.
The engineering class also has a 3D printers that turns models that are made on the computer to become a physical form. The 3D printer creates the model onto the platform by melting plastic filaments into a shape, and keeps tracing the model until it is no longer amorphous.
“The class is advancing,” said Katherine Hall, engineering and math teacher. In addition to the introductory course, Hall also added an advanced engineering course, Principles of Engineering.
“Next year,” she added, “there will be a third course for seniors.”
The engineering course counts as an elective and has a curriculum that encourages students to use their creativity and think more critically in using their mathematical abilities to solve equations.
There are 20 students total enrolled in the Intro to Engineering class and 15 in the Principles of Engineering class. Students like Kelton Runnels, a junior, enjoy the new STEM curriculum. ” I believe this engineering class is now opening a lot more doors for us than sports,” says Runnels.
As he sees it, McClymonds is turning over a new leaf.
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