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BHS extra-curricular programs continue to grow

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Despite the fact that enrollment numbers have been static or falling slightly in Bandera ISD schools, extra-curricular programs have grown at Bandera High School over the past five years.
"We have more students participating in extra-curricular programs this year than we had in 2008, even though our [enrollment] numbers are down." BHS Principal Gary Bitzkie told the BISD board of trustees at their August meeting. "I think that says something about the quality of our programs."
Athletic programs make up the biggest share of the EC schedule, including football, volleyball, cross country, basketball, soccer, track, softball, baseball, power lifting, tennis and golf. Not surprisingly, football draws the largest number of participants with 115 high school boys signed up in the program this year. That's up from 84 in 2009.
Girls and boys soccer were first offered in 2003 with 24 students in each program. This year, it's anticipated that 45 girls and 55 boys will participate in the rest of the world's version of football.
Other EC programs offered at BHS include art, with 240 participants, dance with 12, cheerleading with 25, choir with 110, band with 145, and jazz band with 27.
Theater and One Act Play involves 23 students, a number that has remained static over the past five years. Debate has 16 participants, which has also been the norm for five years.
Agriculture classes continue to prove popular with BHS students and 150 students are involved with FFA.
The experts almost universally find that participating in extra curricular activities benefits students. Involvement helps students learn good time management and prioritizing skills, get involved in diverse interests and make long-term commitments. Kids who take part in EC activities raise their self-esteem by learning to contribute to an effort larger than themselves. Team efforts help them build relationship skills. Participation in EC activities also looks good on college applications.