A Lack in Participation at FMHS

A Lack in Participation at FMHS

Noah Haire, Reporter

Covid struck the globe in 2019 quickly and shockingly. Within months, students and parents were being set up in a new, home-based and technologically intensive work environment. Online schooling gave students the opportunity to continue their education while stuck at home.

Students were eventually given the chance to come back to in-class schooling. What exactly did this “chance” offer, and how did this opportunity change our schooling environment?

The transition back to “normal” school put a lot of mental strain on students. “It took a lot to switch to 8 hour school days after doing class in my bed for a year,” Joseph Rodriguez, Fruita senior stated. After All, it wasn’t normal. Students were required to wear a mask for multiple months following their return. Kids were being yanked from classes in order to commence their personal quarantine. It was almost as if the precautions that were exercised had little or no effect, students were being sent home and staying home to pursue online schooling. Fruita Monument senior Trenton Fraser even recalls “at least 6 kids got sent home in a single period one day.”

To begin, ColoradoChalkboard.org claims that the enrollment within the valley dropped by about 4.37% from the years 2019-2021. That is roughly 1,000 students opting to continue with online or private schooling. This has led to less students being present in classrooms, clubs, and sporting teams. Although this gives students a little extra space in the school itself, extra-curricular participation is at an all time low.

Something like a pandemic has incredible potential to influence depression, bad habits, and more on young developing teenagers. Some of these tend to be harder to let go of than others. These habits or mental roadblocks can make it very hard to commit to something and have a healthy outlook on your future.

Many students following the pandemic struggle with going to class, let alone extracurriculars that take even more time and control from them. The speed and intensity in which the pandemic hit just reiterated the fact that nothing is ever guaranteed. As far as many students knew, they were preparing for their 2019-2020 school year when they were let off on spring break. A two week vacation turned roughly into a year of precautionary survival. Jonathan Deidrich explained that he “got to play one varsity scrimmage” and ”only had two weeks of practice” before his lacrosse season came to an end.

A year and some off of school seemed enjoyable at first, with the thought that students just scored a huge break from school, but the District couldn’t just let this be a paid vacation. Before us students knew it, we were basing our education on a makeshift, on-the-spot online schooling system. Google Classroom, Schoology, Zoom and Google Meets are only a portion of web tools that students and teachers had to become acquainted with.

One or two off years can be quite significant in losing progress and connections made in sports, games, and clubs. A fair amount of students have dropped their once loved passion because they simply don’t feel up to par with other participants. While others have just lost interest. Joseph , who shared some thoughts earlier, also noted that he “ended up getting very comfortable with my new lifestyle at home…and I can’t stay up drinking Dr. Pepper until 3 am during football season.”

Regardless of the reason, extracurriculars are decreasing in participation levels. Lack of funding also makes these clubs and sports harder to run as less kids feel inclined to participate. District D51 has also recently announced that all D51 students have access to free counseling. Prior to the pandemic, many sought out playing sports and participating in clubs as an outlet. A decrease in motivation and availability has in many cases lowered the amount of participation within extracurricular activities. An article published by VNA Health Care added that, “young adults who regularly participated in extracurricular activities showed lower levels of anxiety and depression and higher levels of satisfaction with life.” Although there are significantly less clubs available to join, the school still offers a wide array of options for all of our students to enjoy. You are strongly encouraged to jump back and exercise your options here at FMHS.