Valparaiso High School, much like our community, is a diverse environment with students and staff of all backgrounds, experiences, hopes, and desires.
Likewise, VHS students have personal interests that range from academics to music, athletics to gaming, philanthropy to debating, and everything in between. Studies have shown that participation in extra-curricular activities result in higher academic scores, increased school attendance, decreased behavioral problems, and also helps students manage their time and relieve stress.
Furthermore, students involved in extra-curricular activities acquire the soft skills needed for college and career success such as socialization and communication skills as well as leadership, responsibility, and self-advocacy. When students get involved in school activities they can also help others as well as enhance the positive relationship between the school and the community.
During the 2013-14 school year, VHS has already seen five new clubs established and over the past two years the total number of clubs and extra-curricular opportunities has increased by approximately 10 percent. There are now over 60 teams, clubs, and organizations VHS students can join and be an active member.
Certainly, if competitive athletics are of interest, students can chose from the 20 IHSAA sports offered at the high school. However, if a more relaxed atmosphere is desired students can sign-up for the school’s intramural program. Not only do the athletic teams compete, but VHS has several academic teams that compete across all academic areas throughout the conference, state, and nation. While some academic teams compete, others provide camaraderie with peers and partake in social and service projects around the school and community.
If athletic and academic teams are not of interest, there are several other organizations with a wide variety of activities and purposes. Giving back and improving the school community with volunteerism is the mission for the service clubs as well as those that help students in a wide spectrum of situations build positive peer relations. For those students who enjoy the stage, there are multiple avenues to get involved in the performing arts.
Furthermore, there are several other clubs that meet the needs of students looking for that specific interest whether it is an academic interest, gaming, religion, the environment, or one of several other clubs and activities.
Sometimes when attending a large high school, such as Valparaiso High, it can be easy to get lost amongst shuffle of all the students. However, one of the greatest values is that there are several students that all have the same interests, backgrounds, and experiences. VHS offers many avenues for students to get involved with their school and community and the list of activities keeps growing.
This column solely represents the writer's opnion.