Teams, Clubs, and Groups
1 Good afternoon. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Mrs. Roberts. I’m the assistant principal here at Ridgefield School. I asked Principal Walker for a chance to speak to all of you today. Next week, I will speak to the school board about a matter that concerns you, the students of Ridgefield School. I believe all students should participate in at least one extracurricular activity. I am going to ask that it become a school requirement. After you hear my reasons for this, I would like to know what you think.
2 As a lot of you know, our school offers many different sports teams. We have various instrumental music groups and singing groups to take part in. In addition, we offer many clubs for student interest and service projects. Students are lucky to have so many options. Yet, only about one-third of our students take part in these programs. This saddens me. Recent studies have shown that when students are involved in school groups, it benefits both the student and the school as a whole.
3 Belonging to a school team, group, or club gives a student a social circle. He or she is connected to peers who share an interest. Everyone likes to belong to something. As a member of a group, you will have a chance to learn more about the people around you. You might discover there are many things you have in common. You might discover a peer is facing a challenge you knew nothing about. You might learn from the way that person deals with those challenges. You will make friends and learn to respect other’s differences.
4 Belonging to a school group also builds self-confidence. Joining a group can be a chance to try something new. You may have talents you have not yet discovered. You might have a gift for a sport, the arts, organization, or leadership. Extracurricular activities give students a chance to discover and develop those gifts. As you see these talents in yourself, you will become a more confident person.
5 Participating in school activities also helps you build skills for the future. As a member of a group, you will need to learn to work with others. You’ll learn how to express your opinions in an effective way. You will learn to listen to and respect the opinions of others. You will learn the importance of showing up and doing your part. Middle school will offer many opportunities to become a part of a team or club. Finding out your interests now will help you to not be overwhelmed come next year.
6 Not only do these activities benefit the individual, they also benefit the school as a whole. More than one study shows that students who belong to school clubs, teams, and organizations miss less school than students who do not belong. The less school a student misses the greater the chances of school success. In addition, students who belong to these groups have a greater sense of being part of the school community. Members of a community will work together to keep their school in good shape. They are less likely to cause damage to the building or the grounds. These students also tend to look out for other members of the community. This can cut down on bullying. Finally, these activities provide added adult supervision for students. This extra guidance helps students avoid dangerous behaviors. It cuts down the amount of trouble a school needs to deal with.
7 I’ve mentioned many of the findings of researchers who have studied participation in extracurricular groups. These studies are important and do highlight many of the benefits. I also would like to simplify the matter for all of you today. Join a team, group, or club because it is fun. It is fun to belong. It is fun to try new things. It is fun to get better at or learn more about what interests you. Join a team, club, or group because it will be better and stronger with you as a part of it.
8 Next week, I will talk to the school board about requiring students to join one of these groups. My hope is that once you experience the benefits, it will no longer be necessary to make it a requirement. Until then, I think you will agree the rule is needed.