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January 22nd, 2022

touchdown catchZayden Martinez makes a touchdown reception during the 2021 fall football season against Wichita North. Students who participate in activities, from sports to band, music, clubs, etc., perform better in the classroom when compared to students not involved in clubs or activities as well as have fewer absences. L&T file photo/Earl WattELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

Liberal High School has many activities and clubs for students to participate in and for the 2021-2022 school year so far, many are taking advantage of that.

As has been discussed in the past, however, there are always ways those involvement numbers can grow.

“There are 1,351 students at Liberal High School and out of those students, 879 are not currently involved in an activity or athletics,” LHS Activities Director (A.D.) Kerri Miles said. “We have 131 students currently involved in an activity, 269 students currently involved in athletics, and 72 students actively involved in both. If you look at some of our other numbers, you’ll see the students who are involved in activities average about four absences a semester and the students who aren’t involved in an activity, they average about seven absences a semester. We can see a correlation between students who are actively involved in athletics and activities and how the number of absences decreases dependent on their involvement. With GPA, you’ll notice the average GPA of the students involved in athletics is 3.23 – that’s the current GPA – and the simple GPA is 3.34. Students who are not involved in anything, the average GPA is 2.45 and 2.33. We work to get students involved in several different types of activities, whether it’s band or Scholar’s Bowl or volleyball, we want to make sure the students find something that helps them feel involved and welcome at LHS.”

avhs january 2022 article

LHS Assistant A.D. Monica Vega then talked about some of the other work being done with the activities department, including Compete, Participate, Contribute (CPC) time.

“What CPC is, is once a week, the students take 40 minutes to participate in a club of their choice,” Vega said. “In the first semester we piloted this, we had 41 clubs students could be involved in, and there were 1,146 students enrolled, which doesn’t include the students taking college classes or in the alternative school or taking part in work study. Some of the more popular clubs we had in the first semester were the Cosmetology Club, the Car Club and the Baking Club, so there’s a wide variety to choose from. We start our CPC time up again next week, and we have 43 clubs with students. There have also been several special events done. The Multicultural Club hosted a truck invasion, which was a truck and car show that took place at Homecoming, and it was really great because there were several community sponsors and so many members of the community got involved, and there were so many students who came out for that. Our Student Council was able to also partner with other clubs – they have a big responsibility during Homecoming week with some of the events that go on, and now they’re able to partner with other clubs during that CPC time with students who might not be available after school. So that CPC time has really opened up opportunities at LHS.”

Vega praised the amount of community involvement that has been seen with the CPC work. 

“We’ve had members of the community come in and speak to our clubs, so with that, the students aren’t just learning from their teachers, they’re also learning from people in the community who share their particular interest(s),” Vega said. “And that’s really great because it opens up the students’ minds and lets them see what’s out in the world. The Baking Club, Drama Club and Student Council have all done fundraising in the community for different causes, like Toys For Tots and the food pantry at First Southern Baptist Church for families who were in need of some extra food during the holidays. With the truck invasion, members of the community were able to bring in their vehicles and show them off, and it was just a really great time for everyone. We’re also working really hard on being a presence for the elementary school students and letting them know what we’re all about at LHS and getting them excited to be high schoolers when they get there.”

LHS girls basketball head coach Brandi Fowler said the girls basketball team has also been working on being a presence throughout the community. 

“We have done fundraisers for a couple families here in town and we ultimately gave the money to those two families to help them out,” Fowler said. “We actually started out community outreach before school even started. Last year was really tough because we couldn’t really do any big outreach projects, so we talked as a team about how the girls could use their positive influence throughout the community. We volunteered at a couple stores and collected school supplies for elementary school students and we have it set up where some of the elementary school students can be the ‘water kids’ and give out water to the referees and other people involved at the games. All of that has been really fun and there was one visit the girls did when they came back and told me ‘Those kids think we’re superstars!’ It’s just a great chance for outreach and we hope to continue that.”

Vega talked about some upcoming projects throughout the school. 

“We’re going to start doing mini pep assemblies at the elementary schools, this is our first semester doing that and we’re really excited to get that going,” Vega said. “It’s to get our student athletes out there and it’s basically kind of a parade in the halls and we’ll involve the band. It’s also a great chance to show them what they could do when they reach high school.”

Miles then shared some programs that have gotten started recently and added how successful they have been so far. 

“This past summer, we offered the weight room to the middle school students, and we ultimately ended up hosting 165 eighth graders who checked in and participated,” Miles said. “We also had some summer camp events for the younger students with the different sports and there were also some other workout events. That’s something we’re trying to increase as far as involvement with the middle school and elementary school students, we want them to already have a feel for being at the high school so they’re excited when they do get there and make that transition. Another big part of my job is the hiring process and in just my first year, I’ve already had to take on some higher profile hires in a short amount of time, and I will admit that’s one of the more stressful parts of my job. When I do recruitment, I want prospective candidates to know we support our coaches and want them to be part of what we’re doing at LHS. It can be a bit daunting, but I know in my position, I have to step out of my comfort zone in order to find the best people I can for what we need. We also started a parent panel and student panel for the hiring process, and there are several things they feel are important for new hires – they want someone who can communicate well, they want someone who’s knowledgeable and will work with the others on the coaching staff, and they want someone invested in their athletes at all levels from freshman to senior. Basically, both the parents and students want someone who actually cares and wants to invest their time in our programs and improve them. I’m really proud of the process we put together with all of that and I hope we can keep that going for the future. We will also continue monitoring what’s going on with COVID-19 and if there are any changes to make, like mask requirements and things like that, we’ll take those into account and plan accordingly so we can keep everyone safe.”

Vega then talked about the progress being made on the digital trophy case project. 

“This is to showcase the athletic programs along with our band department, NHS and things like that,” Vega said. “So far, with the couple home games we’ve had the case available at, we had an average of 354 total sessions where people interacted with it, and there was an average interaction time of 2 minutes per person, which shows us people are hanging around the case and actually scrolling through and reading what’s been put on there so far. Our next step with that is to take photos of our trophies and update all the records in there so all of that is in one spot. In addition to that, we’re also going to upload past yearbooks so people can search for their classes and classmates. We’ve got a bunch of sponsors for that, and we’re very happy for what they’ve done with this project so far.”

 

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