The Future of Extracurricular Activities

The Future of Extracurricular Activities

Kailey Staniszewski, staff writer

With the start of the 2020-2021 school year, many students had to quickly adapt to the new school schedule, and online resources as the year had started, unlike any before. Now after a brief adjustment period, most students have a regular schedule down for remote learning, but are lacking the motivation to continue to strive for academic success. Many are pushed to achieve academic success not only for their future college admissions process, but also to stay eligible for extracurricular’s. 

With the restricted amount of contact allowed between students and staff, several activities have had to alter their schedules and practices or take a brief break until it is safe for them to resume. Some activities have been able to practice while others have gone completely virtual. 

The girls’ golf team made up of both Central and West students has been one of the lucky few, getting the opportunity to continue with altered scheduling. Head coach Mr. James Grzetich discussed with us that though they are practicing outside, they must maintain their six feet distance at all times. Then, regarding their competitive schedule, they are still competing in tournaments and meets and have even gone 5-0 so far this season! 

Though this is great for these girls, the more hands on and close contact sports have been put on a brief hold. Head Coach of the boys’ soccer team, Mr. Micheal O’Shea, said that for this season the boys will be playing in the spring instead of the fall. Even with the disappointing news, they are looking forward to still having a season to play, even if it is later than normal. The delay is just more time to train and prepare if you look on the bright side. 

Now we know the sports are adjusting, but what about the clubs and competitors who compete outside of sports? Well, the sponsor for all things drama at West, Mrs. Kristen Blake, is finding new ways to adapt to this change and keep her students connected. Normally within the first weeks of school, the award-winning Speech Team is preparing for auditions and getting their pieces put together, and with this national pandemic, we can assure you the same is still taking place. 

They are approaching all of this with high hopes for their season by hosting informational meetings online and auditions over zoom. While the potential novices gear up to audition for a spot on the team, varsity members are working on writing pieces and searching for scripts. Though it might not be traditional, they are changing with the times and so are the competitions! Blake even said the annual tournament hosted at Home-Wood Flossmoor High School for all new novices is already being planned and the team has been invited to attend and compete like they do annually, but on a virtual platform instead.

This is all great news to hear activities and sports that are still working hard to connect to their students, but how are the seniors reacting to their final year involved at West ending this way? Editor-in-Chief for the Joliet West newspaper, Tiger Tales, Madison Horvat stated they are running the newspaper as usual, but she hasn’t received word from her other activities. The yearbook editors did receive approval to run their activity; however, they were already hard at work on designing and coming up with unique content to match the year. 

The same goes for student leader and athlete Luke Pollack. Luke is Captain of the Joliet West cross-country team along with the fall Captain of the track and field team, but also holds leadership positions in several academic clubs including roles as Co-Captain of the Joliet West Scholastic Bowl team, and President of the Joliet West chapter of the National Honor Society. While sports have been practicing with social distancing, clubs with high membership like honor society are still struggling to find ways to continue with a virtual platform.

While we may have to continue to change for our safety and others, one thing present at West is the involvement of its student body and their ambitions to pursue what they love. Hopefully, in the second semester we will be able to resume in person where athletes and activities can continue on a normal schedule. Unfortunately, the date we will be able to return is still an uncertainty, but we know the tigers will shine through these challenging times, showing why Joliet West is the best.