Extracurriculars provide benefits

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By Camille Sweeney-Carter

Eager to try new things, Michael Welsh, 10, wonders what extra curricular he should pursue. (Photo by Saveria Farino)

Face it. Some kids don’t like school because, frankly, it can be hard. What schools offer outside of the regular curriculum, however, can possibly make the learning environment a bit more interesting. An extracurricular activity, such as a club or a class, can provide an environment where kids can focus their talents and interests on something that intrigues them, whether it be building model aircrafts, doing experiments, or working on their musical abilities. All of these extracurriculars and so many more provide benefits.

There are some kids who have natural talent for music, and some extracurriculars can help improve that talent. Band, orchestra, choir are the three main musical activities a student can take at school, and there are other musical opportunities such as a capella club and guitar. Along with improved talent in music, taking part in these activities fosters a better sense of how to cooperate with peers. For example, groups like choirs must learn how to work together in order to sing in perfect harmony.

“Choir has helped me understand what family, love, and cooperation is,” Aria Frey, freshman, said. “It’s helped me discover my passion for music and has created a safe environment where I know a lot of people care about me. Choir has really changed my life for the better.”

Extracurriculars do not just have to be inside of school. They can also include club sports, community classes, community service, and internships. These activities can provide skills that go beyond run-of-the-mill school courses.

Sports extracurriculars appeal to many students. Some options are basketball, soccer, swimming, and even martial arts, where kids learn to defend themselves through takedowns, hand techniques, and foot techniques. One type of martial art called taekwondo not only helps improve physical abilities, but also helps to improve leadership skills, confidence, and awareness through exposure to different scenarios. Students may be required to lead the class through a drill, or they may be attacked and required to do what’s called a self-defense.

“Taekwondo has helped me mentally,” Jessica Tominna, sophomore, said. “It has taught me to look at things from all angles and has helped me to become more aware of everything around me. I have also learned leadership skills and how to take control of a situation, as well as how to challenge myself physically, reaching points I never thought I could.”

Through sports, students can acquire skills such as an improvement in fitness level and the ability to work together with others. Usually, a sport consists of a team that someone plays on or a class someone attends. Students have a much higher chance of making friends and improving their social skills when they get to know their teammates. Students also learn to think tactically. Sports require positioning and careful planning. Football players can’t just randomly run around the field. They have to figure out the best way to get the ball to the end zone; this requires knowing who to pass to, where to go, and how to strategically play the game. According to www.healthline.com, sports such as football can help with critical thinking, learning, and how to use good judgement, which all connect to thinking strategically.

These skills, along with an improved athletic ability, can be helpful later on in life. He or she’s improved problem-solving abilities can be useful if issues arise at a future job. If a student decides to pursue a career that requires athletic ability, such as professional sports, being a police officer, or even going into the military, the improved fitness level that the person acquired through their extracurricular could give them the jumpstart they need to be successful at their job.

Some organizations here at school, such as Key, Club, NHS, Environmental Club, and Student Council all work to help the community. For example, Environmental Club is doing Three Square, where food is donated to kids in need, and Student Council kids are accustomed to making a difference.

“In Student Council, we often do community service by working with other schools or individually,” Sophie Draayer, freshman, said. “We all try to help whatever way possible, whenever we can. Along with volunteer work, every student on the council is required to do some type of community service act per quarter. We often do stuff as a class, as well. During the time around Thanksgiving, we were in charge of finding ten turkey dinners for kids at an elementary school.”

Extracurricular activities can give kids some of the people skills, time management, and tactical ability that could be used later on in their lives and careers.