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The Importance of Getting Involved

BENEFITS OF HIGH SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

 The following excerpts are taken from “The Case for High School Activities” published by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

At a cost of only one to 3 percent (or less in many cases) of an overall school’s budget, high school activity programs are one of the best bargains around.

ACTIVITIES SUPPORT THE ACADEMIC MISSION OF SCHOOLS.

They are not a diversion, but rather an extension of a good educational program. Students who participate in activity programs tend to have higher grade-point averages, better attendance records, lower dropout rates and fewer discipline problems than students generally.

ACTIVITIES ARE INHERENTLY EDUCATIONAL

Activity programs provide valuable lessons for many practical situations. Through participation in activity programs, students learn teamwork, sportsmanship, winning and losing, the rewards of hard work, self-discipline, build self-confidence, and develop skills to handle competitive situations. These are qualities the public expects schools to produce in students so they become responsible adults and productive citizens.

ACTIVITIES FOSTER SUCCESS IN LATER LIFE

Participation in high school activities is often a predictor of later success – in college, a career, and becoming a contributing member of society.  A 1989, nationwide study by the Women’s Sport Foundation indicated that athletes do better in the classroom, are more involved in school activity programs, and stay involved in the community after graduation. The study, based on an analysis of data collected by the U.S. Department of Education’s High School and Beyond Study, indicated that girls receive as many benefits from sports as boys. Sports involvement was significantly related to a lower dropout rate in some school settings and minority athletes are more socially involved than non-athletes. Research conducted by Skip Dane of Hardiness Research, Casper, Wyoming in 1991 revealed the following about participation in high school sports: (1)

By a 2-to-1 ratio, boys who participate in sports do better in school do not drop out and have a better chance to get through college. (2) The ratio for girls who participate in sports and do well in school is 3-to-1. (3) About 92 percent of sports participants do not use drugs. (4) School athletes are more self-assured. (5) Sports participants take average and above average classes. (6) Sports participants receive above average grades and do above average on skills tests. (7) Student-athletes appear to have more parental involvement than other students.

The American College Testing Service compared the value of four factors in predicting success after high school. The one yardstick that could be used to predict later success in life was achievement in school activities. Not useful as predictors were high grades in high school, high grades in college or high ACT scores. The College Entrance Examination Board’s Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) was examined in much the same way. It was found that having a high SAT score did not necessarily indicate success in a chosen career. The best predictor of later success, the study showed, was a person’s independent, self-sustained venture. Teens who were active in school activities, had hobbies or jobs, were found to be most likely to succeed.  Besides higher grades, participation in activities helps students have a better attitude, according to a study conducted at the request of the Utah State Board of Education. In the study, students, parents, teachers and administrators agreed that being part of such activities serves not only as an incentive to do well in academic work, but it relieves tension and increases self-confidence. The following information is a reprint of “RESEARCH UPHOLDS VALUE OF PROGRAMS” by John R. Olsen, CAA, Madison, Wisconsin, Interscholastic Athletic Administration, Spring 1993.

EFFECTS OF EXTRACURRICULAR PARTICIPATION ON VARIOUS ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

School administrators, parents, and taxpayers generally support high school activity programs because of the positive effect these activities appear to have on students of both genders. However, in periods of economic austerity the expenditure of public tax funds for nonessential programs are occasionally challenged as wasteful and lacking in tangible cost benefits.  As balance to various criticisms, excerpts from ten research studies on various effects of high school activities’ participation have been provided. These studies were conducted over a 25-year period in several geographic areas and demonstrate consistent themes of student growth and achievement.  High school sport programs are legitimate offerings for secondary school systems. Teachers feel students derive educational values from high school athletic experiences. Also cited was the positive correlation between athletic participation, academic performance, and self-esteem for 17,000 students. SOURCE: Braddock, Jomills H., II. “Race, Athletics, and Educational Attainment – Dispelling the Myths,”  Youth and Society.

Lack of participation in school activities is associated with a greater likelihood of involvement in delinquent behavior. SOURCE: Dinitz, S. and B.A. Pfau-Vincent. “Self-Concept and Juvenile Delinquency,” Youth and Society.

Our goal is to have every student in our school connected with a group, organization, club, sport or ensemble.  R-PHS has so many opportunities for students to connect outside of their six-period day and we will continue our efforts to find ways for our students to get involved.