By Chad Eischens
ISD 88 Activities Director
The fall season at New Ulm High School is more than new shoes, crisp morning air and Friday night lights. It's also "participation" season. The stream of students, parents and coaches in and out of the activities office is endless at times. This year, NUHS will have approximately 1,100 athletic and fine arts participants in grades 7-12. This number has held relatively steady for the past several years. There is always room for improvement, especially when you consider the following statistics from the National Federation of High Schools:
Benefits of co-curricular activities
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.
Activity programs provide valuable lessons for practical situations teamwork, sportsmanship, and hard work. Through participation in activity programs, students learn self-discipline, build self-confidence and develop skills to handle competitive situations.
Participation in high school activities is often a predictor of later success in college, a career and becoming a contributing healthy member of society.
Students who participate in the arts nine hours or more each week for at least a year are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement.
A study from East Carolina University showed that the average number of days missed by athletes was 6.3 days per 180-day school year, as compared to 11.9 days for non-athletes and that graduation percentage for athletes was 99.4 percent as compared to 93.5 percent for non-athletes.
Students who take part in more vigorous sports do approximately 10 percent better in math, science, English and social studies classes.
Studies consistently indicate that athletes are significantly less likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, use marijuana, cocaine and psychedelics.
Activity participation is linked to lower rates of dropping out of school, greater civic involvement and higher levels of academic achievement, volunteering, voting, and public speaking comfort.
The positives affects of participation in high school activities on a personal level, and for our community, are too great to ignore. Please encourage the young people of your school to get actively involved in activities. Together, let's make this a great school year and an even better participation year.