BY KAYA DWYER
COVID has changed the environment at Truman High School, for better, or for worse. Regardless, students have continued to participate in great clubs and after school activities to stay connected; through these kinds of activities, students are kept socially sane. But, what about the students who aren’t involved in any of these activities?
Some of Truman’s staple extracurriculars are band, student council, and the National Honors Society ﹘all of which are places you can find Delaney Crick, one of Truman’s most involved students. Matched with her excellence outside of school, she excels in her classes. This introduces the idea that there is a connection between both social and academic greatness. Without her activities, Crick believes she would feel more disconnected from school itself. She says, “I have met so many people and gained more connections throughout Truman. I have been able to create lasting memories with people and friendships I didn’t think would ever happen.” On top of building friendships through Truman’s activities, Crick says she was able to develop different types of skills as well, such as leadership and better communication. A different perspective can be seen from student Juniper Baylie. Baylie has managed good grades, without being in many extracurriculars. Baylie says, “I feel partially disconnected because I’m not really involved in most social aspects of high school, including clubs.”
Baylie is not the only student that isn’t active in school clubs. There are many students that feel excluded or like they have no reason to get involved. Baylie says, “I think most of the clubs are overrated because they seem to be marketed as something to make yourself look good on a college application. But I [do] get the appeal outside of applying for colleges, though.” When a student joins a club for the first time, there can be that pressure or feeling of loneliness because it’s a new experience. Studyfinds says that students usually will perform better if they’re working with friends or if they have begun a project because of their friends.
So is there a way we can fix this problem? Is it a problem at all? Truman’s administrator Shawn Sotheran recognizes the problem, saying, “Students who participate do better academically. But also, students who do better academically are more likely to participate. That’s a positive cycle that builds on itself. Unfortunately, the converse is also true. Students who are disinterested in extracurriculars struggle academically. And those academic struggles make them less likely to be interested in school. It’s a downward spiral.” He also says, though, that the change between students’ interest last year and this year is unnoticeable to him.
With this, we can assume there is probably not going to be a change to this problem. However, maybe it will assist in bringing some attention to the problem itself. When creating a club, or trying to welcome new members, the most important part is making sure that your participants feel welcomed and like they’re a part of something that is beyond the typical club, while also accomplishing the purpose of the group.