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Eastern prepares for another tough test

Wed., Dec. 5, 2012

Final exams are looming at Eastern Washington University, and everyone handles it a little differently.

On Tuesday evening at Roos Field, several dozen men participated in a high-intensity fitness class, letting off a little steam and trying to forget about tests for a couple of hours.

“I have a final next week and one on Friday,” lamented Will Post, a senior from Portland who plans to graduate this year with a degree in communications.

Kyle Padron, a junior in business management, faces a final on Friday and another on Tuesday – as if this fitness class didn’t put enough demands on his time.

Padron, a transfer student from Southern Methodist, also spends time watching movies with the rest of the class, often repeating the same scenes. Padron said he doesn’t mind all the film, which he said is a great study aid.

“But then you have to go home later and study some more,” Padron told bystanders, some of whom were actually filming him as he spoke.

The class, supervised by Beau Baldwin and several assistants, meets daily, and includes a pass-fail group exam, though students are graded individually after each weekly test is reviewed on film.

“We had a few mistakes last week, but overall we graded out pretty well,” Baldwin said as class began.

Post is at the head of the class; he earned a national award Tuesday.

“It’s an honor,” Baldwin said. “He’s well-respected and does all the little things right.”

Every test is a new challenge. Baldwin’s students struggled through most of last week’s test – which was supposed to be a breeze – perhaps because they got the previous week off.

“That may have affected our timing,” said Demitrius Bronson, a junior from Seattle. “But we got better as we went along.”

Bronson was enrolled in a similar class at the University of Washington, but that group failed too many exams; more importantly, he prefers Baldwin’s teaching style.

But Baldwin is no pushover. Classes are held in all conditions; on Tuesday, rain poured while teachers pushed the students to excel.

“At least it’s not snowing,” said senior Evan Cook, a criminal justice major from Federal Way, Wash. “I heard it may snow this weekend.”

The weekly tests, too, are held regardless of weather, and are strictly supervised. Proctors regularly penalize the entire class for any infractions.

Baldwin said he’s pleased with this group, which has passed 10 out of 12 exams so far this season. A quarterfinal exam is next, Saturday at 3 p.m. at Roos Field. The public may attend for a fee.

“We’re excited,” Baldwin said, noting that failure Saturday will abruptly end the term.

“But we didn’t come this far to fail.”

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