Column: Extracurricular Activities Help Students in Extraordinary Ways


Photo by: Robert Barthell

One of many extracurricular activities offered. (Photo of Boys’ Swimming & Diving after winning at The Terror Relays)

Ryan Foucault, Student of Journalism

Many students are involved in NHS’s extracurricular activities. These activities take up much of the students’ time, focus and effort. This could lead to students not doing so well in their core classes with not enough time to get their work done while doing after-school activities.

Extracurricular activities help students in all aspects of academics, social skills and mentality.

NHS offers around 40 extracurricular activities to students of all levels of physicality and intelligence. With all of the time this takes up out of a student’s day, many people feel this is affecting them in a negative way academically. Students do not have time at night to complete homework, and they end up not doing it resulting in missing assignments.

With academics, students a part of extracurricular activities perform differently than students who are not. As reported by Crimson Education, they said, “Participating in activities you are passionate about can increase your brain function which contributes to higher grades. High-endurance sports, for example, will train you to focus and build stamina in the face of intense difficulty. This gives you an advantage when it comes to studying and taking exams.” The report continues by stressing the value of positive attitudes toward school and higher academic aspirations. This can make taking tests less stressful and students can achieve higher scores. 

While students are in an academic setting, they are often interacting among different peers. Students need to build social skills to perform well at the high school level.  St. Johnsbury Academy said: “During practice, rehearsal, or club meetings, students are interacting with their peers and making new friends with similar interests. Finding common ground and striking up a conversation is the cornerstone of success in the professional world.” In sports, teammates interact regularly; thus meeting new people is as easy as getting an A in physical education classes.

Staying in good physical shape will not only helps in every part of day, but it also helps focus. As explained by Splash Learn: “Activities that involve some physical work helps to improve the overall physical health of children. This motivates kids to exercise, lowering the risk of many diseases like obesity, low metabolism, etc.” Obesity in children is becoming more common. Reaching out and getting involved, provides students opportunities to stay healthy year-round. 

A struggle among high school students is their mental health. Guidance counselors are used every day to talk to students and help them find options that can make their lives easier and more manageable. VNA Health Care said, “When a kid has healthy self-esteem and a sense of belonging, it directly affects their psychological and mental health. One study found that young adults who regularly participated in extracurricular activities showed lower levels of anxiety and depression and higher levels of satisfaction with life.” These activities can really shape a student’s mentality in great ways.

Clubs and activities can do a better job promoting sign-up sheets and meetings they may have. Some students do not have the resources available to find these things out. What can be done to solve this issue is an activities board outside of a common walkway for students with flyers or papers for that club or activity. Sometimes, freshmen, find it hard to know what options exist.  By using this board, the club can reach out to younger students helping them find new things they like and meet new people.

This develops the networking skills students will need in the future. Without connections, students will not be able to seek help when needed and often do not ask anyone at all. Having people that students know in the same class as each other will help them perform better academically. At the high school level, there are many students that seek help regularly for their mental health. Clubs and activities are there to help students become a better person physically and mentally.