Last Friday evening our girls basketball team delivered an exciting win for our program, defeating Applington-Parkersburg in overtime. It was a lot of fun to watch the drama unfold as these girls competed for this hard fought victory! Even more exciting was the atmosphere that was created in our gym that night. We had a big crowd on hand for sure! Our student section was larger than it has been in some time, and our bleachers were packed. Besides the parents that had children playing in the game, in the band, or on the cheerleading squad; there were numerous other fans in attendance. I saw community members who haven't had a child in school for years and retired fans who were just looking for an evening of good entertainment. That Friday evening our competition gym was the place to be in Hudson. It makes sense then, that we do everything we can to encourage participation in our school events and activities. It doesn't matter to us if you are a participant or a spectator; if this is your first event, or if you have been to every single one. Please come out and enjoy the excitement!
I believe everyone would agree that we have had a lot of cause for celebration this fall. We can start with the amazing season our girls cross country team had, capturing the state championship for the first time ever! Or how about our football team? Their outstanding run took them all the way to the UNI Dome where they ended up playing for the state title, ultimately finishing as runner up. All along the way, we had a lot of people cheering our teams to victory. Yes, it has been a very special fall. A 'theory of schooling' in education suggests that this kind of success seems to make everything else in school go a bit smoother. Now, whether or not there is any truth to that is perhaps debatable, but in our case I have a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest this is in fact true. At the same time there is research that indicates students who have a strong connection to their school do better in their classes. Students who have a lot of school pride are less likely to cause disruptions to the school day or become behavior concerns. Students who attend a school where the expectations are high are, for the most part able to rise to the occasion when it comes to their own standards of personal conduct. And there is a direct correlation between participation in co/extra curricular activities and academic achievement.
That is one of the reasons why it is so important for us to make sure as many of our students as possible are able to participate in these activities. Either as a member of the team, or as a spectator in the stands; we want them to be involved because everyone gets to share in the excitement that comes with winning a close game. Or the disappointment that comes when we lose that close game. It all builds up the character of our students, increases school spirit and pride in oneself. Further, the teamwork that comes with this camaraderie builds lifelong skills that transfer to the workplace. Everyone has a part to play and we don't want to let our teammates down (so you better make sure you get your homework done on time, study for the test, or make certain you don't get into any trouble).
At the same time, we don't want to forget the whole point of why we are even here. The most important reason we are here is for the academics. Whether we are teaching youngsters to read or do advanced trigonometry, ultimately we are preparing them for the next challenge they will face. Maybe that is high school, college, or the workforce, whatever that might look like for them. All this other stuff that goes along with it: the athletics, the drama club, the band, choir, or student council are secondary, or even tertiary characteristics of our school. But this is all part of the recipe that goes into the American public education experience, and is why we have one of the best educational systems in the world.
Indeed, many of the athletes that are on our teams or are musicians in the band won't play beyond high school. But the lessons they learn and the memories they will create along the way will last them a lifetime.