Sweating for extra credit at McLane High School

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- We're in the middle of winter break for many students here in the Central Valley. One school is helping kids work up a sweat by helping them gain credits and graduate at the same time.

Roughly 100 kids strapped on their sneakers and threw on workout clothes as part of McLane High School's Winter Physical Education class. The condensed P.E. class started up three years ago initially as a way for students to get the elective credits they needed to graduate.

Janus Anderson-Price, a senior, said, "I am low on credits and I really needed the PE credits and I didn't want to take it during regular school."

Winter P.E. is six hours a day for eleven days over winter break and the Martin Luther King, Junior holiday. Though the class may have started as a requirement to graduate, most students here are signing up just for fun. What turned into 20 kids initially is now over 100.

Winter PE teacher Giovanni Napoli said, "A lot of the kids that first year really needed the class and then a lot of the kids came out just because it's something to do during the break. It's just a positive atmosphere."

Leticia Rodriguez, a senior, said, "I'm taking it just to keep myself busy. I don't want to be bored at home. (I) hang out with friends and stay in shape."

The class also keeps students active during what can be several weeks of lazy vacationing.

Napoli said, "Speaking in general, I believe the kids go home and there's nothing for them to do. They're sitting there playing video games, watch TV and so a lot of them want to get out and this si a structured way to do it."

Teachers find they can also spend more time with students and focus on improving their success in the classroom, which is something that can be harder to do during the school year when class times are shorter.

Napoli explained, "We're really able to talk to the kid, find out what's going on, why is it they're not participating and why are they not fully involved and help them resolve the issue."

The six hour sessions aren't only about working out. Each day begins with team building.

Austin Cain, a senior at McLane High School, said, "We usually just get in groups and get to know each other. Small little things like tell what you did over break, for Christmas."

Sebrina Vevas, also a senior, said, "It's good because it's a lot of us and we get to hang out with each other."

Keeping winter break productive for high school students both mentally and physically.

Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.