Study Hall and Physical Education

“There has to be something that can relieve some of this after-school work.  Between sports and doing work for tough classes, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day,” student-athlete George Geanopulos said. 

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Study Hall and Physical Education

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School is where students spend most of their time, surrounded by their peers, learning and studying under the guidance of teachers and staff. For most students, it feels like school is their life. And for many, time spent at school doesn’t just end when the last bell rings. 

Roughly half of the students at Hills still participate in sports.  But since they are at a high-pressure school, academics are still hugely important for these athletes.

Some students have a clear perspective of what it means to be a Pascack Hills student.

“All we do is work,” Junior Caity Parkes said. 

With many students playing sports navigating classwork and athletics can be difficult.

“I have at least one and a half hours of homework a night,” Jadyn Sullivan, senior pitcher and first baseman for the Pascack Hills Softball Team said.

Sullivan, who plays club ball as well as high school, has high school practice until about 5 p.m. every day, or longer if she has a game. From there, she goes to club softball, traveling into New York in order to practice. 

And then she has to go home, eat, shower, and do her homework. And she isn’t the only one. Not by a long shot.

“There has to be something that can relieve some of this after-school work.  Between sports and doing work for tough classes, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day,” student-athlete George Geanopulos said. 

An average high school sports practice is two hours. 

Homework for upperclassmen adds to the stress, especially with AP classes, SAT practice, and college applications.  

Yet, exercise is important to health in mind, body, and spirit, and even manageable on a busy schedule. 

“About 45 minutes of activity a day should be enough exercise for a highschooler to stay healthy,” physical education teacher Mrs. Sandhage said.

So, if students are getting more than enough physical activity for their health through high school sports, why are they required to take gym during their season?

Student-athlete Zach Ginsberg reflected on this question.

“Student-athletes should have study hall instead of gym because when they are playing a sport, they don’t have that much time to do homework or study.  Like an example is that let’s just say you’re coming home from Fort Lee for a game, that’s like a good 40 minutes away, so you’re getting home at 8 o’clock at night. That means you’re not gonna have a lot of time to do work, but if you have a study hall instead of gym, then you’re gonna be able to do some of that work in school,” Ginsberg said.

Systems like this are already in place and successful in many different Bergen County high schools, including Mahwah, Cresskill, Lyndhurst, and Paramus. 

“Being an athlete consumes so much of your time, especially after school, and allowing for a study hall would give athletes more time to do their work and maybe let them get more sleep,” said Sullivan. 

While many students would like a study hall, there are still those, like Senior Spencer Berson, who disagree.

“I could have used a study hall other years, but this year it’s fun to have a little friendly competition ping pong.”