Students balance school and after-school activities

Jacob Morss, News Editor

Natalie Pfeifer
With dust flying off the ball, freshman Macie Briggs catches a pitch at the varsity softball game April 19 at TRYC. They went on to lose the game 11-1.

The long hours spent everyday in the classroom is something every student can relate to, but for many students their time at school does not begin or end when the bell rings. Most people think of sports when they think of extracurricular activities but there are many other activities students participate in ranging from fine arts to clubs to academic competitions. According to the United States Census Bureau, 57 percent of children between ages of six and 17 participate in an extracurricular activity. For junior Zoë Lamborn, one of these extracurricular activities includes forensics.

Natalie Pfeifer
At Tallgrass Golf Course, junior Matthew Schrock putts on the second hole April 23. Kapaun Mt. Carmel lost by one shot to Andover Central.

“I do forensics,” Lamborn said. “It’s mostly on me to do everything necessary to prepare for my events. I do three events every tournament and each can take a few months of preparation in order to memorize and cut pieces. When I was preparing for districts I spent probably three hours a day for 10 days straight preparing for it, so it was a very rigorous time while also juggling school work along with it.”

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Presenting her piece to fellow classmates, junior Sophie Miller speaks passionately about Latinas and her Hispanic culture during forensics practice April 24.

According to Barna, 25 percent of children between ages four and 17 participate in after-school extracurricular activities. In the study “Extracurricular Activity in High-Performing School Contexts: Stress Buster, Booster or Buffer?”, researchers found that on average students who do over 20 hours of extracurricular activities a week start to suffer from health issues. Although extracurricular activities may add to the stress level students, only 28 percent of students surveyed in the report claimed to be stressed over their extracurricular activities while 69 percent said they were stressed over school work. Despite the added stress, senior Chris Hogan says he loves participating in band.

“I enjoy band because Mr. Miller (band teacher) makes every class fun and exciting,” Hogan said. “I joined band because I thought it would be cool to be able to play an instrument and chose the tuba because I thought it would be the most fun to play. It is very rewarding to practice a song for months and finally be able to play it at a concert.”

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Releasing the ball, sophomore Katie Wentworth throws a pitch to the catcher, freshman Macie Briggs, during their game against Northwest April 19 at TRYC. The Crusaders lost to the Grizzlies 11-1.

Like Hogan, 87 percent of children said they joined their extracurricular activities because they wanted to and were not being forced to, according to Quartz. Students who participate in extracurricular activities are also more likely to have higher GPAs, higher composite scores in

Natalie Pfeifer
Performing his solo piece, sophomore Daniel Samsel plays the saxophone during Kapaun Mt. Carmel’s sacred concert April 4 at the Church of the Magdalen.

assessments and are more likely to end their education with a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the National Center

for Education Statistics. Extracurricular Activities can also provide a unique sense of belonging and engagement the classroom setting cannot, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. Not only can extracurricular activities be a benefit for the students, they can also be a benefit for the community as National Honor Society sponsor, Patricia Raglin, explains.

“National Honor Society is a nationally recognized student organization that honors those who meet each school’s requirements regarding scholarship, service, leadership and character,” Raglin said. “Our chapter volunteers at Young Special Olympic Athletes, plays bingo with the Sisters of St. Joseph Convent, runs the high school tutoring room, works with the ecology club at grounds keeping for the school, provides presents for needy children at Christmas time, and helps around with school events.”

Natalie Pfeifer
Performing at a sacred concert, senior Kaitie Bauer plays the flute in Kapaun Mt. Carmel’s band April 4 at the Church of the Magdalen. She is also in KMC’s women’s ensemble, which performed later that night.

The volunteering and service projects clubs provide can go a long way in helping the local community along with the student participants. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, children from ages 12 to 18 contribute more than 1.3 billion hours of community service each year with each individual child contributing 29 hours per year. Most children in this age group also do this volunteering through religious or school related clubs with 64 percent saying they volunteer through the clubs they participate in. Many of this volunteer work is not required by the school either with only five percent of student volunteer work being reported as required by the school. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, the time youth spend volunteering will not only improve their academic experience, but also help them grow closer to their community while learning life and social skills.

Although there are many extra difficulties and obstacles that come with participating in extracurricular activities, there are also many unique advantages for students who are weighing the pros and cons of join a club, fine art or academic competitive team.

Natalie Pfeifer
At Tallgrass Golf Course, senior Ben Spicer lines up his shot on the second hole April 23. Kapaun Mt. Carmel went on to place second to Andover Central.
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Performing a duo, junior Sophie Miller and sophomore Timothy Do recite a piece in unison and elicit a laugh from their classmates April 24.