The PE Department of West High  

Esat Saiti, Reporter

In order for students to graduate from high school, they have to pass many required classes. One of those subjects is Physical Education. At West Anchorage High School, the PE department is made up of four staff members: Robert Larkey for PE department Chair and weight training classes, Irenerose Antonio for dance, Jessica Sedlacek for aerobics soccer, and yoga, and Rebecca Mason for volleyball.

The PE department has many classes that help improve students lives. Soccer, volleyball, aerobics, basketball, and recreational sports are all created to get the students active. Then, there are classes that not only get students working out, but educate students on the importance of physical education as well. These include weight training and lifetime personal fitness (LPF).

The 2017-2018 school year at West has brought major changes for the PE program. New classes have been implemented and new teachers have been hired.

A topic that comes up a lot in the PE department is the discontinuation of LPF. The class was a required class in order for students to graduate. Although the credit was required, the class wasn’t. Students had the option to test out of it and still get the credit. Most gym teachers like that it isn’t a class in the program any longer. Larkey, the chair of the department said, “Im not sure why it was cancelled, but I do like that more spots were opened up for other classes, like recreational sports.”

Herman Cantrell was a former teacher at West. He taught basketball classes and coached varsity flag football and track on the side. Herman retired this year at the end of the first semester.

In order to fill his position, David Dirks was hired. Dirks is a certified teacher that worked at Service High as a gym teacher before coming to West. He took over Cantrell’s basketball classes and also was picked to teach a new class to the PE program: recreational sports.

Another teacher in the PE department is student teacher Eric Dahl. He attends UAA and is studying to be a gym teacher. Currently, he is learning alongside Larkey. He learns rules, regulations, how to do attendance, and other important skills.

When the teachers that have been working at West were asked about their opinions on the two new additions to the department: Dahl and Dirks, they all had only positive things to say about them. Sedlacek said, “I like Dahl and Dirks, they’re awesome.” Larkey added, “I think both are great. Dahl is learning quickly and Dirks connects and relates with his students very well.”