The Great Activities Debate


Shelbee Burke, Staff Writer

There are many opportunities to be involved in the school: sports, student council, FCCLA, FBLA, FFA, classes such as journalism and annual, and even the new gaming club. With all these clubs and activities, some may seem to be hiding in the shadow of popular athletics such as volleyball, football, and basketball. The activities often seem to get less attention, and therefore less provided, causing them to have to pay for many of their own competitions. Some people believe this is accurate and that the system needs to be changed while others believe there is not an issue.

When asked if sports are getting more attention than other activities was something that is a problem, the Activities Director of AHS, Ms. Anita James, stated that she did not believe it was. I then brought up a situation that happened recently. Students participating in an FCCLA trip to Kearney had to provide the money for their rooms; the school did not pay for them. Ms. James explained that she believes the groups not getting their rooms paid for need to approach the school board to see if money would be provided for them. 

She stated, “The school would not supplement types of trips like going to nationals, like the FFA nationals trip. They will have to raise money to go, because it is a sort of wants vs needs thing. Over the top trips won’t be paid for, such as the band trip.” However, people from most of these groups would agree that FFA Nationals and the band trip are two very different things. Why is it that a few students going to nationals is “over the top”, but all the athletes suiting varsity, as well as the managers and the coaching staff, get to go to Lincoln for state and get their hotels and most meals funded?

When questioned about whether she believed that NSAA activities get more attention from the school Ms. James said, “The school and district are open to paying for anything that will benefit our students.” But do they? This past year, the FBLA group had to sell 10 boxes of 60 chocolate bars each or pay out of pocket in order to pay for the state trip. Ms. James explained the reason that sports get more paid for is because they have more opportunities for contests. But wouldn’t it be cheaper to pay for the groups that have to travel less? Why not be consistent with paying for all the activities? 

An example, although there have been many, of when sports had a higher emphasis over other activities is state volleyball and basketball. Both these teams qualified for state but were eliminated in the first game. The team, coaches, and managers got to stay for the whole tournament even though there was no more opportunity for them to compete. After the volleyball game, the cheerleaders and the two students and advisor who went for journalism (which is NSAA recognized), had to drive home that night which resulted in them getting home very late. Why is it that the athletes get to stay for the whole tournament, (three extra days) but the others had to go home that same night? Why not pay for a few more rooms rather than force people to drive home late at night, which could be very dangerous due to the cold, snowy weather and the late-night driving. 

Another example showing the unfair side of extracurriculars and sports is the uniform replacement rotation. Most sports get new uniforms every few years, but other activities, such as choir, which is a class that has a grade, are on a rotation of 20 years, which leaves the students with outdated outfits. Often times, the outfits do not fit on students, which adds an extra challenge.  In addition, show choir gets scored based on appearance and having to use multiple styles of dress lowers this score.

When asked whether she believed the school put more emphasis on sports over other activities, an AHS senior replied, “I think the school does put more emphasis on sports than other activities. I have seen kids who are in sports get kudos for doing something good, but someone in a different activity who has done the equivalent is often unnoticed. The culture of our school is that people will travel six hours to Lincoln to watch state basketball, but most will not drive 5 minutes to watch a one-act or musical performance, or a band or a choir concert. I think it is unfair to those who are not in sports because they work just as hard as athletes, but with half the recognition. I think our school should encourage more students (and teachers) to attend and cheer on other activities as much as we support our athletes.”

So do athletes get more recognition and support from the school and the community? Some people believe so. Although it may not seem as important to support activities other than popular sports, try to take some time to go to the band or choir concert or even to support the cross country team. Give that same support to all those involved in activities.