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Luis, Rhode Island

Luis is a member of Young Voices. He spoke about the importance of PE at the American Heart Association's Youth Advocacy Day at the State House.

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Good afternoon, my name is Luis and I’m a senior at Alvarez High School and a member of Young Voices. Today, I’d like to talk about the importance of Quality Physical Education to students like myself.

So many research studies have proven that quality physical education promotes student learning, teaches self- management and motor skills, and can help fight against childhood obesity.

Physical education (PE) - is a class that aims to develop students’ competence and knowledge of movement and safety. It teaches students the ability to perform a wide range of physical activities that is associated with the development of an active and healthy lifestyle. I have to admit, as a youth, I considered physical education to be somewhat a waste of time. As a rather inactive young person, I preferred to keep school for learning - and socializing - as I assumed it was meant to be. I found very few of the activities in PE engaging because I was fairly introverted and uncoordinated.

Physical education does not exist to turn students into star athletes. Rather, the hope is to expose them to different forms of exercise as a way to consider their own physical fitness throughout life. This is much the same as science, mathematics, and the arts are often taught as part of a pre-college curriculum. By offering these subjects to young people, teachers hope to inspire the next generation to explore, experiment and seriously develop these different disciplines throughout their lives.

Little did I know, my family had an inheritance of type 2 diabetes, now I see that Physical Education impacts my health on a much higher level. I have to always stay in check and watch what I eat so that I do not end up with a disease that will affect me for the rest of my life. Physical Education has become one of my top priorities and while I don’t need to look muscular or superstar-like athlete I do make sure I perform a good amount of exercise on a regular basis.

As I get ready to graduate from Alvarez High School and prepare for Lasalle College, I think about all of my classes that has gotten me to where I am today. I think about the stress, struggles, and workload I had to go through and the ah-ha moment went off. My PE classes really helped me. I noticed that I was always upbeat in the class that came right after my PE class. It helped me reduce stress and I was able to refocus on my academics. PE helped me boost my self-esteem and taught me how to work in a team.

Quality PE is important to all students. Taking time from PE Classes does not result in more learning in other classes. They all go hand in hand. Thank You.

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