School activities

This past week I attended a couple of events that reminded me about the importance of student involvement in our activity programs. We had students performing "Mary Poppins" the Broadway musical, a section championship football game, and an eighth-grade student-athlete competing in the Girls State Cross Country meet.

I will start with "Mary Poppins." If you had a chance to see this performance, you will understand and agree with my opinion of the musical; it was fantastic! It was one of the best musical performances that I have attended at Hutchinson High School. The quality of the performance was not the only intriguing part of the musical. A performance like this takes a vast variety of skills, interests, and talents.

We tend to focus on the acting and singing in a musical. These actors and singers are certainly important, but so is the set design and construction, the lights and sound, the orchestra, the costume design and creation, and the backstage coordination. In total, we had 32 cast members, 14 musicians, 11 backstage crew members and two production crew members. These 59 students, along with the director and teachers involved, worked as a collaborative team to produce a high quality musical.

As a student, you will benefit from and really enjoy being a part of something special like the musical, even if you can’t sing or dance. Get involved, you will never regret it.

The Tigers Football team hosted the section final at HHS this Nov. 1 against a perennial competitor in the Marshall Tigers. Both teams played hard and it was a great game, with the right Tiger team winning!

Similar to the high school musical, as good as the game was, I had other reminders about what is really important — other than the final score. One simple act by our student body made the evening special.

Due to the musical on Friday night, we were unable to have our pep band perform the "National Anthem" before the football game. As a substitute, we played a recording, which our student body decided to sing along with on their own accord. This act speaks to the character of our students and the positive influence getting involved can have, even as a student fan. Our student body continued cheering, dancing, singing and genuinely having a great time throughout the game.

Lastly is the journey of our eighth-grade cross country runner who qualified to for the state tournament and placed 17th out of 176 runners. Cross country is unique as you compete as a team and as an individual. It is one of those sports that takes an enormous amount of training and dedication to be a successful athlete. What an accomplishment for an eighth-grader!

Getting involved in school activities has so many benefits far beyond the wins, losses and performances. Activities play a role in character development, working with others, collaborating, problem-solving and learning from your mistakes. I urge you to talk with your child about getting involved and staying involved with as many activities as they find interest in.

I have included a list of district activities to consider. Go through the list and encourage your child to try something new:

  • robotics
  • football
  • speech
  • hockey
  • swimming and diving
  • jazz band
  • volleyball
  • dance
  • pep band
  • choir
  • FFA
  • tennis
  • lacrosse
  • key club
  • soccer
  • softball
  • baseball
  • yearbook
  • mountain biking
  • musical
  • student council
  • strength and conditioning
  • National Honor Society
  • knowledge bowl
  • math league
  • HOSA
  • basketball
  • wrestling
  • track and field
  • trap shooting
  • intramural
  • cross country
  • special olympics
  • golf
  • marching band
  • new world singers
  • one act play
  • bass fishing

— Daron VanderHeiden is superintendent of Hutchinson Public Schools. You, Your Kids & School is a twice-a-month column from School District 423.

Recommended for you