Band. Music. Arts. Check.
Extracurricular activities play a huge role in molding Redlands Unified students, say district officials.
“Understanding why these activities matter is an interesting conversation. Students are often encouraged to get involved with clubs, sports, the arts, academic competitions and more because it creates a sense of belonging and a strong bond with peers that lasts many years,” said Miki Inbody, RUSD’s assistant superintendent of educational services.
Another bonus — acquiring new skills, she added.
Many of these programs are the first ones to be cut when the economy is in turmoil. However, parent-led organizations and other groups in town have rallied around school activities because of their benefits. An example would be parent-teacher organizations and Redlands Educational Partnership, a nonprofit that raises funds year-round to offer grants and scholarships to local teachers.
“The money that’s raised from this goes directly to funding grants for teachers and also enriching arts, sciences and technologies for all our K-12 schools,” said Sherry Edwards-McGlothlin, Triple AAA Academy director and organizer of REP’s talent show planned this year for Nov. 7 at 3 p.m. in the Blackstone Theatre at Redlands East Valley High School, 31000 E. Colton Ave. “REP gives at least $30,000 in grants each year, and we have so many applicants that apply. So we are really looking to raise money to be able to support extracurricular enrichment programs that teachers want to do with their students.”
Redlands Benchwarmers keeps sports programs afloat where school funding and booster clubs cannot.
Being involved in student life on campus is an extreme eye-opener for college recruiters, Inbody said.
“While colleges are interested in academic achievements, they also get to know more about prospective students because of their extracurricular involvement,” Inbody said. “The thing students do in their ‘free time’ reveals a great deal about them beyond what grades and test scores can tell us. The accomplishments behind the classroom and academics show what the students are passionate about and colleges as well as the workplace value these qualities.
“Consequently, students who participate in extracurricular activities reap the benefits associated with involvement in athletics, clubs, organizations and community service that go far beyond high school into post-secondary education, the workforce and lifelong relationships,” she continued.
Many students within the district have received scholarships because of their involvement in the arts, sports and much more. These scholarships help pay for college, and they also boost student confidence.
Clubs and teams often require students to maintain a minimum GPA to participate. This, Inbody said, highly motivates a student “to do academically well in order to stay involved with their particular sport or organization.”
Teamwork plays a key role in making these extracurriculars shine on each campus.
An example would be REV’s CIF-winning football team and Redlands High School’s Mock Trial team that won the state level of competition in March in Riverside.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, Inbody said.
“Kim Cavanagh (the district’s director of curriculum and instruction) shared with me some examples in our district,” Inbody said. “The Key Club (is) an international student-led organization which provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership, and Interact Club gives students ages 12-18 the chance to make a real difference while having fun.”
For RUSD’s upcoming 125th anniversary, district officials launched a logo contest open to students at REV, RHS, Citrus Valley and Orangewood high schools and eAcademy.
Students were to design a creative, innovative and professional logo that would be used prominently during the celebration.
The design had to incorporate the existing RUSD logo while promoting the district’s mission.”
The winner is REV senior Jacqualyn Bergquist, 17, who says graphic design, writing and reading are among her hobbies.
Designing the logo and subsequently winning the contest “felt amazing” considering she was able to use new computers and software to create, she said.
“As I continued (designing it) I discovered I could do a lot with it,” she said. “And being able to use the new software was really nice.”
Her mother said she was impressed at the opportunity for her daughter — and other RUSD students — to get involved in the celebration.
“Participating in school is what school is all about,” said Janet Bergquist. “I understand it is also about academics and learning as well, but high school should be the time when (students) are growing and expanding on who they are.”
Reference Article – Extracurricular Activities Add To The School Experience