Phys Ed & Health / Leadership

At SEM, each girl learns about the importance of health, wellness, and fitness, as well as the responsibility she has to herself and to others.

Our mission is to teach each student to recognize her individual needs and use this self-awareness to realize her full adult potential. She is encouraged to develop the ability to meet and deal with adversity, and the confidence to make wise choices.

All students are required to take Health/Leadership classes, listed below, and they have the option to participate in interscholastic athletics or choose from a variety of physical education classes throughout their four years.

The athletics program emphasizes excellence, commitment, participation, and the cultivation of the whole person. A student athlete will grow as an individual while learning the values of teamwork, sportsmanship, responsibility, and dedication.

SEM fields competitive teams in sports including soccer, crew, golf, field hockey, squash, fencing, basketball, lacrosse, bowling, and tennis. We compete in the Monsignor Martin Girls’ Athletic League for varsity and junior varsity interscholastic sports. Our squash team competes in the Buffalo City High School Squash League, and our lacrosse team competes in the Midwest Girls Lacrosse League, which includes teams from Michigan, Ohio, Western New York, and Southern Ontario.

SEM's Health/Leadership Program is a four-year curriculum whose mission is to "grow gutsy girls." Our goal is to cultivate and develop knowledge, skills, and convictions that will empower each student “to take her place in the ever-evolving global community and to stand alone, if necessary, for what she believes is right” (Student Handbook). SEM graduates young women who can take care of themselves, have a spirit of service, and are leaders.

What sets SEM’s program apart from other traditional health classes is our integrated leadership component and our non-traditional approach -- discussion-centered with hands-on activities and exercises.

Physical Education Departmental Requirements:

Freshmen Fitness and 3 years (or 9 seasons) of Physical Education Electives/Athletics

Athletic Director: Eva Cunningham

Electives in Physical Education

Ball Games
This is a fast paced and fun class that teaches the basic principles of a variety of ball games including dodge ball, kickball, volleyball, basketball, squash, badminton, lacrosse and wiffleball with a focus on building hand-eye coordination, endurance and teamwork.

Boot Camp Fitness
This total body-conditioning class utilizes many forms of exercise, including cardiovascular training, weight resistance, balance training, plyometrics, and interval training. High intensity workouts target the entire body with a focus on core stability.

Each season offers a different type of dance class including break dancing, hip hop, salsa, African dance and ballroom dancing. Focus is on teaching students to use their bodies as a means of expression and to work on balance, coordination, rhythm and music appreciation.

This is a basic Pilates class that runs through a circuit of floor exercises to help strengthen, condition and tone muscles. The lasting benefits of this include a better posture and more mind/body awareness.

Team building
Utilizing a series of team challenges and initiatives students will be asked to demonstrate their comprehension in the following areas: group problem solving, trust building, listening and comprehension, group goal setting and group facilitation.

This is a basic Vinyasa flow yoga class, which will emphasize breath control, meditation, muscle and body awareness. It builds strength, confidence and balance as well as helping participants become more flexible and peaceful both in mind and body.

Health/Leadership Departmental Requirements:

Foundations: Health/Leadership for Freshmen

This full year course lays the foundation for the rest of the 4-year curriculum, by building a sense of community with one another and building each girl’s knowledge base and vocabulary at an introductory level. Topics include: team-building activities, time management and study skills, friendships and relationships with one another, healthy decision making, alcohol awareness, sex education (anatomy, reproductive systems, pregnancy, contraception, and STIs), media literacy, eating disorders, and public speaking.

Explorations: Health/Leadership for Sophomores

In this full year course, students will explore more deeply topics introduced in the Foundations level. Topics include: problem-solving activities, drugs and alcohol, nutrition, girl relationships/bullying/bystander accountability, teen suicide, public speaking, PowerPoint presentations on sex ed topics (STIs, teen pregnancy, date rape, gender-based violence), and portrayal of women in the media.

Applications: Health/Leadership for Juniors

This is the year in which students learn skills that enable them to apply their knowledge to real-life situations. Topics include: leadership in action (a community service project), nutrition (meal planning and cooking class), stress management (yoga and relaxation techniques), college choices (college counseling workshops), unhealthy vs healthy relationships (Erie County Crisis Center workshop), gender-based violence (self-defense workshop), public speaking (workshop on famous speeches and what makes them effective), driving safety and car care (“Car Talk” car maintenance workshop), and personal/public health (first aid and CPR class).

Survival 2.0: Health/Leadership for Seniors

It’s time to prepare for college and the world beyond SEM’s long wide hallways and this full year class is the culminating experience. There will be in-class work and independent study both in school and in the community. On the homefront, students will be: working with the college counseling office to create an excellent college application; practicing leadership skills while running school activities, clubs, and teams; writing and rehearsing their senior presentations; learning money management/personal banking/financial skills; and preparing and equipping themselves for challenges at college. In the greater community, students will be: creating and executing a meaningful senior internship; investigating the plight of women around the world; and leaving a lasting legacy at SEM and beyond. These young women will be “prepared to take their place as citizens and leaders in this exciting, challenging time” (Student Handbook).