A Physical Education program at La Sierra High created by Coach Stan LeProtti in 1957 was notorious in the 1960s for regularly asking more of the students there than the military today. According to mental_floss, push-ups, pull-ups, and suspended sit-ups were done on a circuit throughout a twelve-minute warm-up and a five-minute exercise through an obstacle course. The program even had custom equipment like peg boards and monkey bars.
Students were ranked based on the color of their shorts. White shorts were for rookies, and red, blue, purple, and gold indicated serious ability. White shorts had to do a minimum of six pull-ups; Marines only have to do three to pass a physical.
Doug Orchard, a filmmaker working on a documentary based on La Sierra’s program, tells mental_floss that most students achieved red status. Blue shorts were a big deal, and gold was “crazy impressive.” For the navy blue rank, one would have to do 34 pull-ups and carry someone on their back for five miles. Only 19 students in the history of the school ever reached that level.
John F. Kennedy issued a challenge for America to become physically fit after he saw the impressive PE program at La Sierra High. 4,000 schools signed up for the program but was forced to cut the PE program’s budget due to money problems.
Nowadays, in 2016, the PE standards are lower. At Stacey Middle School, male students are required to do 15 push-ups, around 40 curl-ups, and run a mile under 12 minutes. For female students, the requirements are more than or equal to 8 push-ups, around 20 curl-ups, and a mile time under 12 minutes.
Statewide, the requirements for male students are greater than or equal to 12 push-ups, greater than or equal to 21 curl-ups, and a mile under 10 minutes. Female students are expected to do more than or equal to seven push-ups, greater than or equal to 18 curl-ups, and a less than 11:30 minutes mile.
High schools require for males to do greater than or equal to 16 push-ups, greater than or equal to 24 curl-ups, and a 9-minute mile. Females need to do greater than or equal to seven push-ups, greater than or equal to 18 curl-ups, and 10:30-minute mile.
Compared to 2016 standards, La Sierra High’s PE program in the 1960s asked more of young students than now. America’s youth was fitter using the La Sierra’s program, but it cost too much money for upkeep.
Overall, both have separate benefits and are equally helpful to fitness.