High school sports and the performing arts are back – everywhere! With the start of the fall season in Hawaii this week, high school students – over 12 million – in every state participate in sports, speeches, debates, music, orchestra and theater programs.
A year ago, many schools and states were struggling to conduct business due to the coronavirus. As mitigation and vaccination strategies continue, the fall sports of football, volleyball, cross-country, soccer and others, as well as performing arts activities, are underway. walk.
The value of these programs has never been more evident than when they disappeared – in a flash – in the spring of 2020. Millions of students, parents and other fans began to realize the privilege and importance of these educational programs. While the NFHS and its member state associations have been touting the importance and necessity of these programs in schools across our country for decades, the empty fields and booths have said it in a more resounding way. Absence makes the heart more affectionate.
Last year’s break also raised awareness of the immense service provided by our country’s high school coaches, many of whom are truly difference makers. And, in many cases, “heroes” would be an apt term for the men and women who have worked in relative obscurity – at least at the national level – to make a difference in the lives of student-athletes or those involved in it. other activity programs.
And many coaches were heroes of a different kind last year because they kept students connected during the pandemic. Often times, a coach is the most important mentor in a student’s life, so keeping those relationships intact was paramount.
There is no better time to celebrate the great work of high school coaches and others involved in high school activities than during the month of October.
This year again, the NFHS is sponsoring National month of high school activities during the month of October to promote the values of high school activity programs. With everyone back on the pitches, courts, rehearsal rooms and stages, this year’s celebration will be one of the most triumphant in the event’s 41-year history.
Not only is the weather great, but the activity programs are at their zenith with Friday night football games, cross country games, volleyball games, field hockey games and games. soccer during the week. And then there are millions of students involved in speech, debate, theater and music programs.
Kick-off of the month-long celebration October 1-10 is National Fair Play, Fan Appreciation Week and Speech Announcers Week.
Before the pandemic, it is estimated that more than 300 million fans attended high school sporting events each year. After being grounded last year, it has been great to see parents and other fans come back and support their local teams.
Sportsmanship is one of the three tenets of the NFHS rule writing philosophy and remains one of the most important aspects of high school sports and the performing arts.
The week of October 11 to 17 is the week of national activities of the performing arts and local associations of high schools in the state.
Thanks in large part to a one-of-a-kind aerosol study conducted by the NFHS, the College Band Directors National Association and more than 125 performing arts organizations, these vital year-round extracurricular activities are back. in schools across the country.
While high school sports were hit by the pandemic last year, performing arts programs have been devastated. Only six states were able to offer in-person music contests and festivals last year, and only a few states were able to hold in-person speeches and debates. However, the others continued to compete virtually and were thus able to host end-of-season state events.
However, there is no such thing as face-to-face and in-person activities, and the essential mitigation elements of the aerosol study – and the vigilance of teachers in their implementation – were the determining factor in many cases.
The week of October 18-24 is National Coaches, Advisors, Officials and Sponsors Week.
In addition to recognizing the excellent work of the high school coaches mentioned earlier, it is a week to recognize the hundreds of thousands of people who give back to sports and activities through their roles as officials and judges.
And the main tasks for schools and state associations are twofold: how to recruit more individuals to become public servants and how to retain those currently in office.
The NFHS has been actively recruiting civil servants for the past four years as part of its #BecomeAnOfficial campaign. More than 50,000 people have expressed an interest in officiating as part of this national effort at www.highschoolofficials.com.
More recently, the NFHS has targeted high school coaches to consider officiating another sport during their offseason after previous campaigns directed at other groups.
Closing of the one-month celebration October 25-31 is National Community Service / Youth Awareness Week. This week is designed to encourage individuals to give back to the community by supporting high school sports and the performing arts.
High school sports and performing arts are the best educational programs in the country, and our country’s youth need it more than ever. We encourage your support.
More information on National High School Activities Month will be available on the NFHS website at www.NFHS.org/HSActivitiesMonth.