The After-School Hours

April 16, 2008
By Tyler Pollock, Grand Junction, CO

We are in a bad era in America: the era of obesity, laziness, and irresponsibility. The scary thing? Teens in high school are being let off the hook for this behavior, which has caused a slow movement to occur. Instead of wasting the day away on a bike, or on a basketball court, or playing a game of pick-up touch football, kids are indoors in front of a box furiously tapping buttons on a plastic joystick with their fingers. The point? Kids are not as active as they should be. The solution? After-school activities should be required for high school students.

The opportunity is given to kids to be social and make bonds with new people. This skill is vital in the work force. Communication skills can be deepened further because the students would be working as a team to reach a common goal. If kids can be motivated to work, then they can develop the idea that rewards come along with it. If teens that have many friends have fewer emotional and social problems in adulthood, then why wouldn’t parents want their kids to socialize as often as possible (given that the situation is not harmful and appropriate for the teen)?
Not only will it help kids socially, but it will also help kids stay out of trouble and extend the learning of discipline and responsibility. This will reach out to the kids who aren’t exposed to these things outside of the school property line. This is a big reason for the disrespect some students in school show towards their peers, teachers, and materials.
The manner in which we teach our kids discipline has changed over time. As recently as one generation ago and in some families today, physical punishment has been the means for getting the message across. However, in our society it is not socially acceptable to use this tactic, and to be completely honest, the effect of it can be seen. Kids are disrespectful to their elders, other kids, even their own parents. I have seen it with kids at my school and it’s sickening.

Another issue that has been in the news constantly is the fact that America is the fattest nation on this rock. Nearly two-thirds of adults and one-sixth of kids between the ages 6 and 19 are overweight (Lemonick). While fast food restaurant chains can come under fire here, the fact is people can still eat healthy at those restaurants. The individual has the power. For those teens who don’t necessarily make the best decisions when ordering nutritious food, staying healthy may begin to become more difficult. An after-school activity would provide an opportunity for students to stay fit. The exposure and motivation that they receive will help them overcome this obstacle.

Now a thought may trickle through some people’s minds that requiring a student to participate in an activity will be no more productive than say the average physical education class. Nor will it enforce good behavior any better than a positive behavior support system. However, by allowing the student the option to choose a club or sport or to create his or her own will give the students a common goal and make the activity enjoyable and positive as long as teachers and coaches are stressing the principles behind it.

After-school activities have the potential to solve many problems that our communities are facing today. I challenge you, instead of watching our world change for the worse, step out and take action. Problems do not solve themselves and people in this nation need to realize that we need to start getting healthier, getting the teen criminals off the streets, and getting more students socially prepared for the working force. Start up a club, coach a sport, or do something to make an effort for change. Nothing is impossible as long as there is someone willing to work. It’s time for a new era, America.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.

Parkland Book