Illustration by Lily Cam.

Extracurriculars neglected during distance learning

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The ongoing pandemic has made extracurriculars a second priority to distance learning. By halting all school-sponsored sports games and club fundraisers for months, the school has disallowed these groups from continuing operations. As a result, there is an overbearing emphasis on online classes while neglecting extracurricular activities. The school needs to make an effort in encouraging students to partake in online extracurriculars to combat its class-centric nature during this time.

Transitioning online has forced teachers to reduce their balanced classes and activities to tediously long, information-packed lectures. These classes are bland and are not nearly enough to engage students or ensure that they will perform well, as they are unable to learn in this environment. This renders distance learning, alone, inadequate for students. Students need an additional stimulant, such as extracurricular clubs and sports. Getting involved in extracurriculars will expose students to new school activities, combating this lack of engagement and poor school performance. The school must encourage extracurricular participation to help make distance learning more meaningful and effective.

Participation in extracurricular activities promotes leadership and creativity. Students who are involved in extracurriculars have separate responsibilities on top of their classes, such as being club officers and captains, which allows them to organize and manage projects and contribute toward group efforts—things that are not available in an online class setting. Students are missing out on opportunities to build these skills that are imperative in the school environment, workplace, and beyond. By not promoting sports, clubs, and volunteer work, the school is hindering students from practically succeeding in the real world.

When students participate in extracurricular activities, their school experience is enhanced because they get to explore their interests and develop a sense of who they are. Currently, students are only being introduced to half of what school has to offer. This is especially detrimental for freshmen who are completely unaware of what the programs at school are. The underclassmen are unable to start figuring out their identities, including who they are and what they want to do after high school, making connections outside the classroom, and enjoying a proper high school experience.

Although the current conditions of the pandemic make it unfavorable for clubs to do activities in-person; regardless, teachers should still promote them, because many extracurriculars are now operating online. Clubs such as Art Club, Key Club, All Male, and Cross Country, are all holding meetings and events through Zoom, making it possible for students to get involved while taking precaution from COVID-19. The pandemic should not be an excuse for the school to neglect extracurricular activities and students.

Even as the school year continues, student participation in extracurricular activities is lacking due to students either being unaware of or hesitant to join the available clubs. In response, the school needs to host a club fair and push teachers to promote extracurriculars instead of hyper-focusing on teaching class material. Teachers can make time aside from lectures to advertise for the school’s online clubs and provide links to club pages and applications. Partaking in extracurricular activities will provide students with the technical skills necessary to grow, succeed, and obtain a valuable school experience.

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