Early Bird Gym Gets the Worm … For Now

A beloved gym class at the brink of cancellation.


Margaux Miller, Sports Editor

In the lower commons, sitting on the stairs that separates the competition gym from the locker rooms, tired eyes are blinking to stay open and coffee is in abundant supply . These tired eyes are quickly shot open as Chuck Spagnoli walks in, holding a bag of gym balls and an extremely enthusiastic attitude.

This is the start of every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday for students in Spagnoli’s early bird gym class, which starts at 7:30 a.m.

Early bird gym is a team fitness class, but due to the diverse group of people enrolled, Spagnoli approaches it in different ways.

“Spagnoli does a nice job of incorporating everyone- which is a nice feeling- especially in the morning before school. The environment, the people, it’s a good time,” said junior Jonny Kilmer.

Porter Weisberg, a senior and accomplished rower, says that early bird gym is “the only opportunity I have to get a study hall.” The school doesn’t recognize rowing as an IHSA approved sport.

Weisberg leaves early from school in order to get down to the city to row, and he isn’t alone. Senior Dante Mancini takes early bird gym in order to leave early for his soccer practices. Senior Cristina Machado uses the extra study hall provided to meet with teachers, and Kilmer takes it due to scheduling conflicts.

“The whole point is to give these kids the opportunity to benefit from the other curriculums outside the school– the things they do outside the school are incredible,” said Spagnoli.

The class is experiencing a drop in enrollment, with a grave possibility of cancellation next school year. Students will lose out on more than just a PE class, Machado said.

“The relationships you make with your classmates makes this class worth saving because you bound over having to wake up early,” she said.

Kilmer notes that he learned a lot about democracy, while Mancini said he learned leadership skills.

“It is definitely a different group of people; the ability to meet new people in different groups and be open to anybody is my favorite part,” said Mancini. “It’s a safe gym class with no judgement or pressure.”