School Talk: So many activities, not enough time

Kris Beal

How many times during the course of the week, do you lament that you have too many irons in the fire, that there aren't enough hours in the day? I think this is a common malady these days. I don't remember my parents being as busy as I am at this age.

If you ask a teenager how they are, they will inevitably answer "tired." There is some research that supports the fact that their internal clock is not set to the 9 to 5 work day. Regardless, our students today are busier than we were when we were in school. They are very busy! They have a right to be tired, as do, the advisors of the activities and their families who support their participation in activities.

When I was the assistant principal at Grant Union I encouraged students to be involved in school activities. There is a direct correlation between involvement in activities and a student's behavior in school. Participation in activities teaches students discipline, organizational skills and how to be a team player. The lessons and rewards are endless.

When I talk about activities, I am not just talking about athletics. There are a variety of activities and many of our students are involved in several activities at a time.

But let's just talk about athletics for a moment. Fifty-three percent of the students at Grant Union were out for fall sports. There were 92 students out for fall sports at Mt. Vernon Middle School and 19 turned out for fall sports in Seneca. These are the students we have seen compete on the football field, the volleyball court and the soccer field and leading the cheers at the football games. They are the students we see in the press because of the outstanding job The Eagle does covering high school sports.

What we don't see are the almost 200 participants at GUHS in activities in science club, student council, Future Career and Community Leaders of America, Future Business Leaders of America, mock trial, FFA, Spanish mentors and the lunch buddy program at Humbolt.

We do see the students involved in the music program at all schools when they perform and we know that the pep band adds a lot to the athletics contests. However, what we may not realize is that one-fourth of the student body is involved in the music program at Grant Union, that 10 music students recently attended District honor band and choir, that six students attended a sight reading music workshop at Western Baptist College and 41 choir students will travel the Monday before Thanksgiving to attend the choral festival at Western Oregon University.

Are you tired yet? Add activities outside of school in our community such as Boy/Girl Scouts and church groups and activities with friends and family and it's understandable that every teenager you meet will tell you they are tired.

Oh, one more thing. I haven't mentioned school and the time necessary to study and complete assignments. Not only is there a direct correlation between a student involved in activities and their behavior but there is also a direct correlation between a student involved in activities and the grades they receive. Those grades are above average.

So, what does it all mean? We can all agree that we are busy, that things never slow down. Still, our students involved in activities need our support and they are most appreciative of that support. So, the next time you know of a school activity and you are able to attend, please do. Better yet, call up a friend and bring them along.

• Kris Beal is the principal at Humbolt Elementary School.

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