Opinion: We want a "Palyground"
by Sam Kelley and Callie Walker
Published March 21, 2013
A precedent has been set within America’s society and it’s damaging to both the development of teens and their academic prowess. Rickety financial times and a new international demand for “good” grades have pressured schools into cutting out extracurriculars like drama, P.E., sports, etc., etc., in the name of streamlining students for success after high school. Who’s going to play dodgeball after they finish P.E.? By cutting out these key parts of a student’s education, students across the country are being given the short end of the stick, and it’s no exception at Palo Alto High School.
According to cdc.gov, “Physical activity can help youth improve their concentration, memory and classroom behavior” and “Youth who spend more time in Physical Education do not have lower test scores than youth who spend less time in [it].”
On top of academic benefits, physical activity can improve the student psyche. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, physical activity “[r]elieves symptoms of depression and anxiety and improves mood.”
Paly offers two gymnasiums, a track, multiple athletic fields and bountiful budgets to Paly students in search of physical activity; yet we see no playground. There is little opportunity for casual exercise during brunch and lunch breaks from Paly’s rigorous academics. Since graduating from the fifth grade we have been deprived of monkey bars and since then our stress levels have grown exponentially. Correlation? Yes.
Upon entering high school, students take themselves too seriously. It’s time they were stripped of that. As legally being “children,” we should be entitled to the benefits of being “children.” Now is the perfect time to do it, the planned expansion of the Quad will provide ample space for a playground, and since the space will be in need of renovation before use to begin with, why not add a playground instead of more grass?
The subconscious need for a playground is continuous throughout the Paly psyche. The closest thing we have to a play castle is the Senior Deck, a much desired privilege reserved for use only by the senior class. Imagine a place in which each class is entitled to some privileged space: a set of swings, seesaws, slides and a castle.
According to our studies, Paly students would love a playground complete with monkey bars, slides, teeter totters and a jungle gym. The monkey bars will have to be high enough to accommodate those daredevils out there, the slides should be metal (for maximum slipperiness), the teeter totter, well it’s hard to mess those up, and the jungle gym should definitely resemble a series of castle towers, complete with flags. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a colorful array of fun gracing campus? We think so.
We hope to set a precedent of high schools having playgrounds so that kids across the nation are able to experience the joy and delight of galloping around. But we have one request: no tanbark, please. Tanbark is the worst.