To the editor:
It is August, and that means it is time to begin preparations for another school year.
Hopefully, that also means gearing up for participation in various activities besides the academic arena. Those could include athletics, speech, music, cheerleading, dance and drill teams, FFA, FCCLA, Student Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and many others. The list is simply too long to include everything available.
That is exactly my point. Look at all the school-based activities available to our students and children today. Coming from the “older generation” and being a former teacher, coach and high school principal, I am a firm believer that there is something besides the classroom for every student to be involved in.
Many of our students choose to participate in multiple activities. When I read the resumes of students for various scholarships and awards, I am amazed by all they do.
A study conducted by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and the University of Northern Iowa in 2009 showed the more activities students are in, the better they do. Statistics proved they have a higher grade point average in high school and college, a higher graduation rate in college, and they get better jobs, make more money, have a higher marriage success rate, have fewer problems with the law and so forth.
While one might think the extra activities might detract from their abilities and successes, the contrary is true.
This is my challenge to today’s students: Get involved and be willing to try new activities.
We cannot all be good at everything, but we can all be good at something. The activities are there for students to consider. Think about the qualities and skills learned in many of those activities: time management, self-discipline, learning to accept criticism, learning to win and lose with dignity, dealing with adversity and, most importantly, teamwork.
You will use all these skills on a daily basis as adults, and they are acquired through participation in the extra activities.
Colleges and employers are looking for people who are diverse and well-rounded. So I beg students to get involved in lots of things. Don’t let yourself be talked into specializing or only doing one thing when there are so many things there that are available.
Too many times I hear comments such as, “I sure wish I had played (blank) or participated in (blank) when I was in high school.” But now in their adult life, it is too late.
Our schools and their staffs are doing a remarkable job of providing fantastic opportunities for their students. Hopefully, our students will take full advantage of what schools are offering.
Just remember: There is something there for everyone. I hope the 2015-2016 school year is the best one ever.
Mike Dick, executive director, Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union