In the past, Leesville implemented SMART lunch as a chance for students to participate in clubs regardless their after school life. By removing this period, Leesville is altering student’s after school schedules and lowering club participation.
The Benefits of Smart Lunch
Today, extracurricular activities play an essential role in a student’s acceptances into college. Universities and colleges — especially extremely competitive ones– expect students to have roughly eight to ten extracurriculars. This ranges from sports and instruments to school clubs and honors societies.
SMART lunch gave students a chance to access activities worrying about a ride home. Kids who lacked a car could go about their day without interrupting their schedule. This aspect of SMART lunch meant students without a way home could participate equally alongside students who do and clubs had far higher participation in consequence.
Without SMART lunch, school makes students rearrange their after school lives to join clubs.
Victoria Hall is a junior at Leesville high school, and a busy student. She often struggles to find time for her interests. Hall is an avid participant in honors societies, clubs, and even theatre. While she does manage to balance everything, Hall acknowledges her schedule is overwhelming.
“I’m in five clubs. [I] do theatre, work, and [I] am taking three AP classes. Balancing everything means there have been nights I’m working on [homework] until midnight,” Hall said via text.
With five clubs, Hall wishes school could once again have a SMART lunch period to take the load off her schedule and help her find time for new activities.
“Having clubs during the school day would definitely help me balance everything– math honor society offers meetings during lunch and it’s the only reason I’m able to do it, because the after school meeting is the same time as my key club meeting. I really wanted to do a book club because I love reading but the meetings were always when I had plans after school, so I wasn’t able to come,” said Hall.
In addition to making it difficult to fit clubs into their schedule, Leesville faces less participation in clubs because of the current format. After school activities like clubs and sports are often difficult for students to attend. The need for many people to find a way home makes after school activities a challenge. It has resulted in club participation dropping off precipitously in comparison to years with smart lunch.
Ms. Dragone is a Leesville librarian and an advisor of the school’s book club. Throughout her nearly ten years here, Dragone has seen the book club operate during SMART lunch, virtually, and after school.
“We had the highest number of participants during SMART Lunch and when we were fully virtual (15-20 students attending each meeting). Our numbers dropped when we came back in a hybrid format in 20-21, and although we have many students who expressed interest and joined at the beginning of this school year, we only have a handful of students who participate consistently,” Dragone said via text.
Leesville needs SMART Lunch to provide club access to as many students as possible. This unique period in the day provides easily accessible leadership activities
However it leaves us with the question: is it worth the costs of an overcrowded lunch to give students access to clubs?
Hi! My name is Lauren! I’m President of the LRHS book club. Outside of school I’m a curler for Team Taylor and I like to rollerblade.