Physical fitness has a place in academics

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 28, 2008

It isn’t very often that we celebrate a public school’s improving its recreational opportunities, but given the inventory of gym supplies and the poor condition of the field at J.P. King Middle School, upgrades simply had to be made.

With the help of old-fashioned fund-raising techniques and grants from Franklin Southampton Charities, those upgrades were finished this year and will be in place for the upcoming school year.

Normally, we would advocate putting money into salaries to attract and retain better teacher and administrators, or into buying

up-to-date computers and textbooks, but the $6,000 or so used for gym-class-related equipment was well spent.

Travis Felts, a gym teacher at the school and physical education supervisor for Franklin schools, said the condition at J.P. King was so bad that &uot;when I came here [in 2006], we had hardly anything as far as equipment. We had a few basketballs.&uot;

The grounds also supported portable classrooms. When they were removed, deep ruts were left in the ground until it was graded. Felts said the field was used only a few times this year. The school’s spring field day on those repaired grounds served as sort of a celebration.

Inventory of supplies for the gym was also replenished and raised to acceptable levels for use by teenagers.

And teenagers these days need monitored physical growth as much as they need monitored academic growth.