Some of my fondest memories growing up are centered around Illahee Junior High School. I attended Illahee from 1991-1994 and, looking back, had a great time. In many ways, high school wasn’t as fun as junior high. While in high school, I didn’t care about how we did in sports and all of that activities that so many people get caught up in while in high school in the name of school spirit. But I did care about my school while in junior high. I was proud to go to Illahee and my attitude showed it. Some of the best memories (other than the numerous stories that my friends and I share between the years of 1991-1994) have to do with the physical education department at Illahee. In short, it was awesome. In retrospect, it could be the modern-day cure for the youth obesity problem that has garnered so much attention in the main stream media in the past few years.

The physical education department at Illahee ran their program like this. Every Monday morning in your P.E. period, rain or shine, you ran the short course, a course of about a mile or so up hills and through trees around the campus. Everyone wore matching purple shirts and shorts with their last name on the back of their shirt. We were timed and were required to improve our time over the course of the semester. Each Friday we ran lines (or sprints) back and forth in the large gym. There was an incentive to run as hard as possible because not only were we being watched by every gym teacher (whom we all looked up to), but we were also competing against each other and were trying to show off. The weekdays in between Monday and Friday were spent playing sports (ultimate frisbee, basketball, etc). Essentially, I was guaranteed an hour of sports or other physical activity each day. It was great fun.

Some of the best Illahee memories, however, come from an advanced P.E. course I took called Conditioning. To get into the class, each student was required to pass a series of strength and endurance tests. I got into the class my ninth grade year and spent an hour each day working on my physical conditioning. Two to three days were spent in the weight room, while the other days were spent running sprints up steep hills (which I remember caused me to throw up), running stairs, playing hardcore dodgeball with volleyballs, and running several miles within a short period of time. While it was a lot of work, I was probably in better cardiovascular shape back then than I am now and ever will be. I am not sure if the conditioning course still exists at Illahee (the junior high school is still there, but I think it is unlikely that the course has survived), but oh how I sometimes long for someone to push me now in my exercise and activity as I had then. Nothing was beyond our reach, the great P.E. faculty and coaches led us to believe (I even completed the Big Climb for Leukemia up 69 flights in the Columbia Center in Seattle in under 12 minutes).

Granted, we did not have the Internet back then to sit in front of, but Illahee was the cure for those extra pounds. The school brings back fond memories of sweat, friends and growing up. Those were the days.


2 Responses

  1. […] I had while still in my youth. Like most schools, my junior high school (which I have written about here before) held elections in which anyone can run for the school’s student body president. After […]

  2. I hope you’re still keeping this blog.

    I’m an Illahee student, and the conditioning course is alive and well.

    Coach Wood is still motivating us, including Mr. Eilertson, and we still do the same exact things in this blog.

    Except for extreme dodgeball.

    Hills are very hard, but it’s still there, and everything else is still there.

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