Zero Hour Physical Education
Five years ago, the coaches, physical education teachers and administration, pulled together to discuss what improvements could be made for our students at Hastings High School. An anonymous survey was conducted and it was very obvious that the students wanted a challenging, and comprehensive workout, which challenged them physically, mentally and emotionally. It was at that point that SPARQ was created and students have to be ready to go by 7:00 AM. Think back to the time when you were seventeen years old – would you want to leave home by 6:15 AM in order to get to the high school to work out by 7:00 AM?
The SPARQ course uses diverse training components to improve a student’s speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness. The course is directed towards students who want to take fitness to the next level. Students can work out for more than 45 minutes as the class has a start time of 7:00 AM. The student is then able to shower and have a quick breakfast prior to the start of their second hour class. The class is offered three mornings a week which then allows the student to sleep in, or have extra study time, the other two days out of the week.
Our student athletes gravitate towards this course because it allows them to have an intense workout and they can work on specific skills during their athletic team practice at the end of the day. The rest of our student body is drawn to the class because of the engaging teaching staff, the motivation, and bonding that occurs at the very start of the day. One of our students has lost over 100 pounds during the four semesters of participation. There are many students now gravitating towards SPARQ because they hear other students talking about it. When you participate in SPARQ you become part of the SPARQ team. There is no question, that just like other teams, there is a bond that occurs when you sweat, fail, succeed, push yourself and others around you to reach new goals. The program helps to improve your mind set, inner strength and motivation as you begin each and every day.
The number of students signing up for SPARQ continues to increase annually. We now have an all-female SPARQ class and they are reaching an intensity level that we could not have seen before. All students in the program are challenged, at a high level of intensity, by our instructors. There are many times that a student will be told what they need to hear rather than being told what they want to hear. There is no question that the students are responding to the challenge.
A program, like SPARQ, is successful because of the high energy and positive staff engaging the students! It also takes high school administration, and coaches, who support the concept and are willing to encourage students to participate. When you have the above ingredients, it makes a prefect recipe for success.
Our SPARQ students come out of the program, on a daily basis, with high energy and a positive approach to start the day. Their self-esteem is improved and they understand the concept that you will never have any regrets if you challenge yourself and put in a lot of hard work. All of the students fully understand that pushing yourself mentally, and physically, is something that they need to do for the rest of their lives.
Simply put, this program should be replicated in every high school across America.