Bookmark and Share

Cutting extracurricular and co-curricular activities: What do students think?

One of the many ways that would help our school district save money is reducing the amount of money or time put into extra curricular and co-curricular activities.

The definition of extracurricular is “outside the regular curriculum or program of course,” such as athletics, Destination Imagination, Knowledge Bowl, History Day and science fair. The definition of co-curricular is, “related, but only complementary to the official curriculum,” such as band, choir, art and workshop.

What do students think when asked about the possibility of cutting these activities.

Evan Brookens, a 10th-grader, replied, “I’d be very angry, because extra curricular activities are the only thing keeping kids in this school.”

Eighth-grader Jesse Richardson responded, “Its probably not a good idea, what else are we going to do?”

Eleventh-grader Mele LeLievre answered, “I would be really mad. I heard that they would make people pay, but it’s not fair for a town like Pagosa who doesn’t have a good economy. We wouldn’t have as good of a chance to get into a good college.”

Mikaela Marchand, an eighth-grader, answered, “It would make me mad, because I am in a lot of extracurricular activities. What else would people do if they didn’t have them, sit around and watch TV?”

Dylan Koch, a 10th-grader, responded, “I’m an athlete myself, so I would be very angry, it’s like being robbed.”

An eighth-grade student, Ben Lewis, replied, “I wouldn’t like it, because there is not much else to do in this town, and people need to get fit and have fun.”

Ninth-grader Gabby Pajak replied, “I would feel really disappointed, because extra curricular activities are what most people do because there is not much else to do in Pagosa.”

Mia Jones, an eighth-grade student responded, “That would be really bad; because I love art and all of those things give us something to do. They let us be creative.”

The only positive outcome of cutting these activities is the amount of money saved through less transportation, staff reductions, and the supplies needed for some activities.

In a study by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation in a report titled “Critical Hours,” the foundation argues that afterschool programs and extracurricular activities, “can make a difference in building the ‘prerequisites’ to learning, supporting not only school achievement, but long-term competence and success as well.”

The study cites that all of the following areas show improvement when a student is involved in interest areas outside the basic school curriculum: “... higher academic performance that can build skills necessary for success in today’s economy; greater engagement in learning because there is improved behavior in school; increased competence and sense of oneself as a learner; better work habits; fewer absences from school; higher educational aspirations and improved attitudes toward school; better emotional adjustment and relationships with parents; greater sense of belonging in the community; and a better use of time.”

One of the reasons high school students should participate in extracurricular activities is because it will help them get into a good college. Academic excellence isn’t the only thing colleges look at when evaluating an application, according to Peterson’s — the largest college guidebook and search engine helping students find colleges and universities — which says, “... they also look for, how dedicated you are, your leadership skills, how well-rounded you are, and how involved you are in volunteer activities.” All of these characteristics are developed through participation in extracurricular and co-curricular activities.

While there are other activities offered by community organizations for students, many of these programs charge fees and are off school campuses, which restricts some students from participating.

And, in the event that future participation in extracurricular or co-curricular activities at school will require students to pay a fee, how will students whose families cannot afford the fee be able to continue?

How can the community help? How can local individuals and organizations provide support for these important elements in our students’ educations?