Poor achievement levels stand in the way of co-curricular activities

At the start of the second quarter Kelvin Lee drives past the KIS players for a layup and scores two points for the GSIS Knights. In the process of his layup he was fouled which gave him the opportunity for a foul shot.
At the start of the second quarter Kelvin Lee drives past the KIS players for a layup and scores two points for the GSIS Knights. In the process of his layup he was fouled which gave him the opportunity for a foul shot.

Victor Jeong, News Writer

Students looking into athletics have had more than just conditioning to worry about, grades have been some of their biggest opponents. Those who didn’t keep their grades up this semester have been prohibited from playing sports until they could prove that they could maintain higher achievement levels.

When administrators are assessing a students co-curricular eligibility they are looking to see if a student meets one of the two basic criteria. Meeting any of these criteria will keep a student from participating in co-curriculars. “The first is if a student has an achievement level of one. The second, if a student has three or more achievement levels of two then they would be considered ineligible,” said Mr. Thomas, the Assistant Principal and former Athletics Director.

The policy had been the same for the last few years and was written clearly in the student handbook. Mr. Thomas explained, “We have two reasons for the policy, one is a requirement by KAIAC which is our co-curricular conference. The other reason is to make sure students are not sacrificing too much to participate in co-curricular activities, so that they could balance both co-curricular requirements with their academic requirements.”

Mr. Thomas encouraged students to participate in co-curricular activities, stating, “if co-curriculars are hurting a student’s academics too much, we want to make modifications so that the students can have their priorities on the academic side.”

Mr. Rains, the lower secondary school athletic director thinks that the best way for a student to maintain co-curricular eligibility is to properly balance their academics and co-curriculars. “A proper balance between academics and co-curriculars would be around 60 percent academics and 40 percent other activities such as sports.”

Additionally, Mr. Rains felt that ninth graders were the ones having the most problems. He thought it was because of the fact that they were new to upper secondary, and were still adjusting to the higher workload.

“Ninth graders had a lot of people who were ineligible, while tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders had a very small list of people,” said Mr. Thomas. He also felt that sometimes students overcommitted to co-curriculars, and with the new co-curriculars available in upper secondary, some students were still adjusting to the balance between classwork and other activities.

When asked about how he felt after being taken off the JV Volleyball team, one freshman wishing to remain anonymous replied, “As a student, I think it’s fair because if you do your co-curricular activities and sports and then fail your classes, there’s no real balance or fairness in that. It’s not hard on people either, just keep it above two and don’t miss a lot of assignments and you’ll be good.”

Mr. Thomas mentioned that the system they used for the ineligibility was meant to redirect the students and not harshly punish them. “If a student is ineligible for an entire quarter, it doesn’t just hurt the student, it hurts the co-curricular activity too. If a member of the starting five basketball players was ineligible for a whole quarter, it would affect the entire team.”

What the policy boiled down to was to make sure that students would a show gradual and ultimately large improvement. Mr. Thomas suggested that students should definitely and most importantly be proactive with their teachers. He felt students should use their time wisely and plan ahead. If a co-curricular activity took the student out of school early or for the entire day, it was completely the student’s responsibility to make arrangements and agreements with the teachers so they didn’t fall behind in the class.

With a large array of co-curricular activities that satisfy many interests, the policy ensures that students and co-curriculars can still co-exist without conflict.