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Alexandra Silva

ENGL 120-040
J. Larsen
MWA 1- Position Paper

Over the years, high school have increased the number of requirements students have to
meet in order to graduate with a diploma. With each new requirement there seems to always be
controversy in one way or another. This is no different with the requirement that should be
enforced in the high schools of New Mexico. This requirement would be that high school
students should have to get involved with their schools or communities every year of their high
school careers. How would these students do this? They would simply have to join either an
extracurricular of their school, such as a sports team or club, or they could join a community
organization through things like volunteering or community service. The next question many
people would have is what exactly this requirement would ask for of the students. Each student
would just have to pick one club or organization per school year, or if they choose to be involved
with community service or volunteer work, they would have to complete so many hours per
school year. Finally, why would is this requirement something we should all consider? There are
so many great reasons why students should become more involved with their schools and
communities, and although there are a few things that could potentially interfere with this
proposed requirement, there are several different solutions for each of these dilemmas.
There comes a variety of positive outcomes for students who are actively involved with
their schools and/or communities. According to a survey conducted by the Public Agenda site,
American young people believe that organized, structured out-of-school activities are
enormously important to them, with 85% saying that kids who participate in such activities are

better off than those who dont. (Rizzolo). So what does being better off mean? Students that
are being kept busy with a positive extracurricular have more opportunity to excel as a person
and less opportunity to get into trouble. The logic behind this is that students who do not have
anything productive to do after school will become bored. This boredom has a high chance of
leading to experimenting with negative things, such as alcohol or drugs. This, of course, is not
always the case with students not involved in an extracurricular activity, as students who are
involved do not still partake in such things We cannot say that by becoming an involved member
of the community or school, the option for drug and alcohol consumption is completely ruled
out, but we can say the opportunity for these negative things to become more permanent things
in the lives of these students becomes much slimmer.
Besides students not being as prone to negative influences with this requirement, they
also have a better chance at excelling at their academics. Most schools require that students
involved with their clubs or organizations must earn and maintain a certain GPA while being a
member. If a student does not meet this specific requirement, they would no longer be allowed a
membership in that club or organization. For example, when I was in high school I was on my
schools volleyball team. We had to maintain a 2.5 GPA throughout the season and preseason as
well. On top of the GPA rule, we were not allowed to get an F in any of our classes. This was
called the No pass, no play rule. Regardless of our GPA, earning an F was unacceptable. These
rules about academics is true about most school groups and organizations. Thus, if the
requirement to have students be involved with their schools was made and enforced, more
students would not only earn better grades, but they would also learn more. They would have no
choice but to pay more attention in class and study more out of class in order to remain in
whatever club or team they choose to be in.

In addition to these academic benefits of this requirement, students could get involved
with academic based organizations if they chose to. Not all high schools currently have academic
based organizations, so if this requirement became reality, these high schools could create some.
For example, there could be organizations and clubs that revolve around math, science, literature,
history, and other academic subjects. With these different clubs and organizations students would
not only be gaining knowledge in the classrooms, but also after school. Another great benefit of
creating these specific types of extracurricular activities is that it becomes much easier for
students to find something they may actually enjoy participating in, rather than one they will feel
forced to join. Not all students are interested in sports, theater, or student council, but with
academic based clubs, there might just be something for everyone. As stated on the same survey
on the Public Agenda website, Since schools are putting so much emphasis on academic
standards, kids are better off in programs that focus on academics rather than other things.
(Rizzolo). A problem that may arise with these academic based activities is funding. Who would
fund these clubs? Just like any other school organization, the students could fundraise or they
could find local businesses to sponsor them.
So what if students decide to choose an extracurricular activity that is not academic
based? Do they still benefit from these activities? The answer to this question is of course they
do. Each and every organization gives their members new skills and positive experiences the
members can carry with them throughout their lives. For instance, from volleyball I gained
leadership skills. I learned to lead my team to victory and rise up from defeat. As a team cocaptain my senior year of high school I learned how to encourage a group of people and bring
everyone together. As a member of student council, I learned how to organize events, work with
others to accomplish a common goal, manage money, and so much more. All of these skills have

been carried with me after high school graduation. I use the skills I have learned from
extracurricular activities in college, at work, and in everyday life. With both extracurricular
activities, I also made many lifelong friends. If I were not involved with either of these two
organizations, I would not have gained those skills or experiences. From extracurricular activities
students can gain a significant amount of skills and experiences that they can add to their
resumes. This will eventually help students when it comes to finding a job or getting into a
The benefits a high school student will receive from being required to become involved
with their schools and communities are numerous. Not only would the students benefit from this
requirement; the schools and communities of these students would also benefit tremendously.
Students could just as easily decide to become involved with their communities rather that their
school. If this was their preference, they could volunteer at a senior citizen home, hospital,
homeless shelter, or do things to beautify their community, such as cleaning up trash off of the
roads or at parks, painting old buildings, or planting more gardens. If more students cared about
their community, the chances of people, who are not students, starting to care more about their
community would more than likely increase. It is so important that students care about their
communities because, eventually, one day the young students will be the ones in charge of the
Although this requirement would have many positive outcomes for the students, their
high schools, and their communities, there are also some reasons as to why other people may
believe that this requirement would a bad idea overall. One of the biggest interferences with this
requirement is the percentage of students in high school that are at least part-time employees. An
article on Market Watch explains that after the Great Recession of 2008, many of todays

students have experienced a financial wake up call. (Fottrell) Students are having more
responsibilities financially at home now as opposed to before the Great Recession. They may
start paying for their own gas, phone bill, or other small expenses. Teenagers in high school will
also obtain a job to start saving for college and just to have a little extra money in their pockets.
When it comes to this requirement, students who are employed should be given the option of
choosing an extracurricular activity that meets or practices during the school day. For instance,
my student council organization in high school was a class that I had to take in order to be a
member. High schools would need to provide more clubs that are classes during the school day
or that meet sometime during the school day so that students with jobs could still meet this
requirement. Perhaps another solution would be for high schools to allow students with jobs to
use their jobs in order to fulfil this requirement.
Another reason that some will argue this purposed argument is not in the best interest in
the students is they believe students will either choose an activity that they are not interested in at
all or they will become too involved with their activity. If this is a requirement, students may just
choose one because they are forced to if they want to graduate with a diploma. When a student is
not interested, they do not get all the benefits they would if they were really interested. In order
to avoid this problem, high schools should offer something for everyone. Even if they did this,
however, they could not guarantee that everyone would be pleased. For this, I would suggest that
high schools allow students to make their own organizations or clubs with the schools approval.
This way, no one has a reason to not want to join an activity. On the other hand, students may
absolutely love the extracurricular activity they have chosen, but become too involved with it
that they lose focus on other things that are important. This can be problematic, but students in

high school need to begin to learn how to balance things out, as they will need this skill in their
Time management is another factor that would be argued for by those against this
requirement idea. Some students, if not a majority, are not experts on how to manage their time
well. In an article on the website Synonym, the author, James Roland writes, Teenagers often
struggle with time management, and some extracurricular activities demand more time and
energy than many students can handle. (Roland) Students not having enough time or energy for
their academics or their possible jobs would be unbeneficial. For this problem there is a solution,
as well. Students who have a hard time managing their time, or who already have a busy
schedule, can join a club or organization that only meets for short periods of time or once a
week. This way, the students can learn how to manage their time still without becoming too
overwhelmed. An advantage of this is students will gain the skill of time management that will
definitely be useful after high school graduation.
There may be a few bumps in the road when it comes to this proposed requirement,
however, none of these bumps are incapable of being smoothed over with easy solutions.
Overall, the positive outcomes from this requirement outweigh the possible negative outcomes.
Students in high school should have to be required to be involved with their communities or
schools by joining clubs and organizations or volunteering their time through community
service. If students were required to be more involved in order to graduate, not only would they
benefit as the student; their schools and community would also benefit considerably.

Works Cited
Fotrell, Quentin. "80% of Students Work at Least Part-Time." Market Watch. Market Watch, 8
Aug. 2013. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.
Rizzolo, Allison. "PUBLICAGENDA.ORG - Survey: Sports, Arts, Clubs, Volunteering -- Outof-School Activities Play Crucial, Positive Role for Kids." PUBLICAGENDA.ORG - Survey:
Sports, Arts, Clubs, Volunteering -- Out-of-School Activities Play Crucial, Positive Role for
Kids. Public Agenda, 16 Nov. 2004. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.
Roland, James. "Negative Aspects of Extracurricular Activities Synonym. Demand Media. Web.
27 Jan. 2015.