Summer PE is a revolutionary way that high school students can take a gym class. Prairie High School has been offering gym class during the summer for about 13 years.


The course first started when John Lukasko, a physical education teacher at Prairie, got thinking about the heavy course-load some students were taking on. With electives, AP classes, and Kirkwood classes, many students found themselves struggling to fit in a gym class.


Lukasko said, “The academic schedule was starting to get more and more for the students so I decided, ‘What can I do?’ So I came up with the idea of Summer PE.”


The number one perk of Summer PE is how it can free up a student’s schedule so they can take on another class or have a much needed study hall. However the activities and lessons learned during the course are also a major benefit.


When the class first started 13 years ago many of the classes were on campus and very similar to activities students would do during the year. After a while, it began to feel repetitive to Lukasko, so he came up with a solution that built the exceptional course.


Lukasko said, “So I thought, ‘You know what, I’m gonna start implementing, I’m gonna ask the businesses if they would like to try this sort of partnership. They were all for it.”


That first year, students ended up going to Aspen Athletic Club through Summer PE, but the course has grown quite a bit. “I started expanding and every year I started getting more and more activities. Before you knew it we were off campus every day,” stated Lukasko.


This year students will still be going to Aspen every Tuesday and Thursday. The other activities include Crossfit, heat yoga, Hard Drive (MMA & Self Defense), Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping, canoeing, sand volleyball, Sky Zone Trampoline Park, National Guard workout, and Lost Island Waterpark.


Summer PE is a 15 day course and it will take place this June from the 11th to the 29th. It’s estimated that around 120 Prairie students will be participating in Summer PE this year. The number has grown quite a bit over the years. When the class first started there were only around 35 students, but as the different activities grew, so did the number of students.


Traveling around The Corridor and trying out different ways of exercising is beneficial for students and is truly what makes Summer PE so special. Through the class students can discover what methods of fitness they enjoy best and interact with the community of Cedar Rapids.


“It gives our students the opportunity to explore what Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities have to offer them. Once they do graduate the students will have explored different fitness companies, they may like some, they may dislike some others. But at least they have the opportunity to try to see what they like,” Lukasko said.


Summer PE is a wonderfully unique way that Prairie uses to educate students on fitness. Opportunities to explore the fitness options in Cedar Rapids and freeing up a student’s schedule are the wonderful benefits of the course.


There isn’t a cap on how many students can take Summer PE. So sign up before the school year is out, or consider enrolling in this amazing opportunity next summer.


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