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Not Your Father's PE Class

New generation of exercise in full swing at Sierra Vista Jr high

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A grand opening celebration was held Thursday afternoon at Sierra Vista Jr. High for a new Fitness Center that is changing the way students exercise.


“Physical Education at Sierra Vista has changed forever. For most of us, the old-style PE met the needs of a select few. Everyone else was often left with a lifetime of bad memories and demeaning experiences,” said George Vallarde, PE Chair for the school.  


Interactive games have emerged as a popular way to stay fit. At Sierra Vista, two walls are lined with plasma televisions and linked up to pads on the floor. Half of the setups are equipped with a Dance Dance Revolution system, in which students dance on the pad following commands from the system.


ImageThe other half play an interactive game in which students’ movements on their pad dictate an animated Jackie Chan on the screen as he runs through Tokyo. The students must run, jump and surpass physical obstacles to get Jackie from one place to another.


Then, behind that, there is a row of bicycles, all equipped with their own screens. There, young bike riders watch the screen as it shows an animated display of a bike riding down a path. Their movements control the bike’s direction.


But the interactive games have not fully taken the place of other methods. A huge rock climbing wall and many fitness machines work seamlessly into the “New PE” schedule, which rotate days in the new fitness center with traditional activity and aerobics.  


“This will ensure that no child is left on their behind,” quipped Vallarde, in reference to No Child Left Behind.