5 reasons why you should never forget health class

Taylor Shelfo ’17 expresses her opinion as to why health class should be required all four years.


With registration materials at hand, you are likely in the process of selecting all of your favorite classes for next year. The obvious choices are foods 1 & 2, I’m sure, along with the required economics, math, blah blah blah. I know for a fact that none of you are looking at health. Why would you? You probably took it your first trimester of freshman year, passed in flying colors and moved on your merry way throughout high school. Do you even remember what you learned?

As ‘chill’ as health class may seem, it’s actually one of the most important class offered here at West High. Health teaches not only the basics in sexual education, which, if you ask me, is essential to know for everyday life, but it also teaches you how to live a well-balanced life.

An important aspect of living a well-balanced life is taking care of yourself. Health class shows you so many options on how to be active without running ten miles. I learned how much I love yoga and how radiant it makes me feel afterwards from the options the famous Kathy Bresnahan provided me with in class. Of course you can argue that the required 53 minutes of P.E. you do every day is “enough exercise for you,” but really, keeping your health in check is no joke. I challenge each and every one of you to find something that benefits your body and doesn’t make you want to keel over and die like cardio does for me.

Exercise may not be the “thing” for some of you busy people, so keep your mind and body healthy by eating right. In health we were taught how to organize our food based on our calorie intake, portions and food group necessities. Now I’m not saying to go home and rationalize every meal, but pay attention to what you are consuming. There are thousands of apps for your phone that count calories for you, and it’s quite an eye opener to see that your breakfast alone can be your entire calorie intake for the day.

Granted, eating right and exercising are important, but the mind is essential to living. I thank my health teacher every day for teaching me that mental illness is no joke. Before taking health, I thought that mental illnesses were something so serious and fatal and no one I knew had it. Well, idiot fourteen-year-old Taylor, one in every FIVE teenagers just in the United States alone (according to livescience.com) suffer from a mental illness that can deter them from daily activity. Almost everyone I know suffers or knows someone that is suffering from a mental illness. IT IS NO JOKE. Health class taught me and all the other ignorant freshman that anxiety is normal. Depression is also normal. It can be overcome and taken care of with so many options. No one is alone.

I don’t know about you, but wow, that’s way more important than learning how to properly create proofs. Along with bettering your mind and body, safe sex people!!! Yes, sex is extremely awkward to talk about, but you have to learn how to be safe. Knowing how to gain access and how effective all the contraceptives out there are can really save some people’s lives. It’s not like jumping in front of a bullet for someone, but it will save you a few thousand dollars for not raising that newborn because you were educated on contraceptives.

And of course the obvious unit, say no to drugs! I’m sure you all laughed at this because teenagers are going to try drugs, it’s a fact – I mean 81% of teens have tried some sort of drug (CBS News), so you wouldn’t want to pay attention to some teacher telling you never to use them. Or you were the student who will never touch drugs in your life so the entire unit was a waste of your valuable time. Whichever one you were, the dangers of drug ABUSE needs to be taught, not drug use — there’s a large difference. Brez was so authentic with my class about drugs. She stated that she knows we’re going to try drugs and alcohol, but that does not mean we are excused from educating ourselves on the dangers of it. When I tried on those drunk simulating goggles and walked around, I literally felt like I had no control over myself. Experiencing that and how easy it was for me to slam into someone walking, I cannot imagine what it would be like to get behind the wheel under those conditions. In turn, that experience in health class saved one more life from being injured in a drunk driving related car accident.

Many of you probably don’t remember half of this; you probably only remember the Supersize Me movie or the woman giving birth. I hope that this has opened your eyes as to how educated you are on the basics of everyday life from just one class that is only taught for twelve weeks of your entire four year experience. That is not enough time to teach the importance of your health, the health of others and how to basically be a well-balanced individual. In light of all of these reasons, health should be a class taught every year in high school — to healthy minds, moving bodies and safe lives — health class lives on.