For more than a century, the Minnesota State High School League has sponsored one of the most comprehensive programs of interscholastic activities in the United States.
More than 500 member schools with 23,000 coaches and more than 9,000 officials and judges help students to reach their goals in and out of the classroom. Students who participate in activities are known to have higher grade point averages, have better school attendance, create lifelong friendships and simply find school more enjoyable.
Being a part of the team, learning self discipline, creating strong work ethic and building character traits can all be benefits of participating in MSHSL sponsored activities.
Pequot Lakes activities are also an extension of the classroom. Lessons that can be learned while participating in the many activities our school offers just can’t be replicated in the classroom.
Activities this winter offered for Patriots are speech, robotics, debate, one act play, hockey, basketball, dance, Knowledge Bowl, wrestling, alpine and nordic skiing, gymnastics, band and choir. Students, please consider being a part of as many activities as you possibly can during your short time in school.
Parents can make a positive impact with their children while they participate in activities. Allow your child to guide their path in the arts or athletics. Most parents have the best interest of their child in mind; however, some develop a mission or goal that is not what the student really wants. Parents need to listen to the wants and needs of the student.
The best thing a parent can do for a competitor or performer is to be there for emotional support. After a great win or an emotional loss, a friendly face is the best tonic. Parents need to be at their best when the student experiences failure. A friendly hug from a parent often is the best elixir.
Parents also need to be the guiding hand to help the students cope with and learn from success with humility. Students feel the pressure from practices and their competitions or performances; coaches, directors and teammates are their toughest critics.
When the competition or performance is over, the student needs to escape from the pressure for a short while. The drive home or the conversation after an event is not the time for families to break down the good or bad that occurred. The best conversations to have are simply how enjoyable it is for us to watch our children play and perform.
Simply saying, “I loved watching you play/perform tonight,” can be the best words for our students to hear. A recent survey in Michigan revealed that what students hated the most about being in activities was the ride home with parents after an event. What students enjoyed the most was the fun that activities give them.
Students go out for activities for fun, love of the event, and friendships. We all need to remind ourselves of why they play.
An alarming rate of students is dropping out of activities after age 13. We need to encourage them to be a part of the team and contribute in any way they are capable. Society can get too caught up in winning, being the best, being champions or the leading scorer.
While competition can be a critical life skill learned by participating in activities, the process - learning how to compete or perform, and learning how to deal with winning or losing - is far more important than the result of the experience.
Pequot Lakes students, please consider getting involved in as many activities as you can. There is an activity for everyone. The benefits from participating in MSHSL sponsored events can make the educational process more enjoyable. Go Patriots!
Byron Westrich is the activities director for the Pequot Lakes School District.