The Realities of Senior Gym Electives


For the first time in ten years, Brooklyn Tech is offering gym electives for seniors. The wide array of options for students to choose from are track, volleyball, yoga, lacrosse, stunt, spin, golf, backyard games, badminton, swim gym and weight training.

The electives were introduced to give seniors a chance to enjoy their gym classes in their final year at Tech, and to discourage students from skipping class. After becoming the Physical Education Coordinator two years ago, Mr. Cicolini polled students and discovered that they all found their gym classes boring. He explained, “Especially after Covid I really wanted [students] to come to class…I wanted seniors to have a choice in what they actually want to do instead of being forced.”

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Gym electives can also combat the infamous ‘senioritis’, which strikes many seniors once they have finished their college applications and tend to care less about their classes, especially non-academic classes such as gym. Many students complained about taking classes such as track for a fourth year in a row, or constantly being put into sports that they did not enjoy. “A lot of the seniors I talked to were unmotivated to attend PE classes because they were doing the same thing over and over again,” Cicolini added. If a student actually enjoys their gym class, they might be more likely to actually show up.

Just a month into the school year, many seniors already have strong opinions about their gym electives. Rushitha Pendam (‘23), said that she is “grateful we have the freedom to choose our own gym.” However, she continues “It’s nice that we get to choose our gyms this year, like with our English classes, to get a taste of college–picking our classes, which is preparing us in a sense.”

Opeyemi Omoboye (‘23), is also coming to appreciate her gym elective. “I like my teacher a lot and she will give you individualized time but that sport (volleyball) is hard. When I did well everyone clapped and they were all supportive.”

Lara Piros (’23) explains that all of the selections didn’t pique her interest, but she is glad she never has to do indoor track again.

Unfortunately, not all seniors have full control over their gym schedule, particularly those who chose stunt or spin as their elective. Spin gym isa class where students perform exercises on stationary bikes. In stunt, students do anything from cartwheels to splits. These are two extremely different gym electives that presumably appeal to different people. However, due to programming issues, the two classes have been combined into one large group that will do one semester of each gym.

Piros, one of the students affected by this problem, like many, is not pleased with the mis programming. She explained, “I hate biking. I signed up for a stunt and spin is basically the opposite of that, so if I wanted to do spin I would have chosen spin so this isn’t a deal I signed up for.”

Those who applied to take spin are equally disappointed. Clara Ghali (‘23), elaborated, “I don’t think it’s fair considering that other people who choose their gym electives get their choice for the whole year. The class also has a very harsh grading system and the final exam is based on what you can do even though people have different flexibility or body types and not everyone can do the same things– especially people who didn’t choose this.”

The scheduling issues do not end there. Eitan Timoner (’23) was put into track gym despite not applying to it. On the first day, Timoner said, “the teacher asked who put outdoor track first and only two kids raised their hands.” Shortly after, Timoner was able to switch into a different class, a luxury not all seniors have been awarded.

Despite the excitement surrounding gym electives, some students think aspects of the old system were more practical. Pendman said, “I wish we had the previous system of four sports a year, one each marking period so we don’t get bored of one sport all year and get variety, while still choosing what sport we want.”

Despite the school’s best efforts to maximize student satisfaction with senior year gym, flaws in the program result in the effort coming short. “Will I skip spin a few times? Probably. I have no interest in it. It was towards the bottom of my list and it was definitely not something I wanted to do. I actually would even rather do track instead of spin”, Piros concluded.

In the future, Cicolini plans to reform the entire physical education system. “This is the first year all seniors got to choose their senior gym electives…it’s the first time it’s been done like this, so after this pilot year we’ll see what worked and what didn’t work, we’ll add all upperclassmen, and create a curriculum for lowerclassmen to take track, weight training, an individual and a team sport, and then choose for the next two years.”