At HTS we know the value of co-curricular activities and we understand their importance in helping our youngsters become well-rounded people...Most are highly motivated to succeed academically but some are also deeply passionate about helping others, or being the best they can possibly be at music, drama or visual art. For others it is robotics or debating that really gets them going.
There is no question but that giving students the opportunity to pursue (or discover!) their passion is a highly valuable aspect of school life. Whether it is in athletics; the arts; STEM interests; community service; or student leadership, everyone benefits from the opportunity to explore new avenues for achievement or personal satisfaction. Interestingly, there is another side benefit to pursuing these opportunities within the school environment rather than simply leaving them to parents or the larger community to provide.
About fifteen years ago, the Harvard Educational Review published a study of factors contributing to student success in first year university. Interestingly they found that the young undergraduates who made the most seamless transition to post-secondary studies were those who had been actively involved in high school in sports; drama; music; and student leadership. The major reasons for this phenomenon, the study suggested were:
- students actively involved in extracurriculars had to be more efficient in managing their academic workload and in time management in general;
- students who were members of teams, choirs, student council, etc. were more collaborative and predisposed to work effectively in groups as opposed to those who were more academically "loners"; and,
- most interestingly - students who participated most in extracurriculars at school, saw school as the centre of both their academic and social lives - and this appears to have transferred directly to university life as well, making school their central focus and therefore facilitating the transition. By contrast, students who were equally involved in pursuits outside of school did not have the same carry-over and tended to be less centred on their new learning environment.
At KGMS/Maplewood we are also committed to providing those opportunities for our students to experience success outside of the classroom. Whether it is our high school design team who envisioned, designed, built and installed new "green" enhancements to our campus; our elementary Destination Imagination teams who excelled at the provincial and global finals; or our Ultimate Frisbee Bears who continually demonstrate what teamwork and dedication can accomplish. As Barry Hughes said, when you blend passion with motivation, it is an unbeatable combination!