After-school activities have been known to bring fun and laughter to the otherwise mundane lives of high school students. More importantly, they allow students a chance to connect with peers of all ages. Participation in extracurricular activities, both in and out of school, allows students to develop new skills, passions, and talents while introducing them to new friends who share common interests.
The general ambiance at Hillel hasn’t changed over the years. Younger kids still play on the football field and the playground with the coaches, the older kids still sit in the high school circle with their friends, and the second the late bell rings, everyone starts sprinting to class. In between the chaos of class and homework, students have the privilege of participating in sports and clubs. Either before, during, or after classes, Scheck Hillel offers countless opportunities that benefit students and call for the building of friendships with students who may not be in one’s classes. The variety of clubs and sports available span across different categories to accommodate every student’s interest. The captains of sports teams and the founders of clubs are often found reaching out to students and voicing the advantages of joining their teams. But, the one thing every team and club shares is that it belongs to Hillel, and so it provides a chance for students to become more actively involved in their community and to develop into the leaders of tomorrow. The unity that distinguishes the school is seen during games, as classmates crowd in the bleachers to cheer each other on. Being with friends when winning a game or creating something new brings a deep joy and creates an appreciation for the small and big moments alike.
Hillel provides an abundant amount of clubs ranging from friendship bracelet making to geography club. Friendship bracelet making allows students to work together to create new types of designs. It strengthens the bonds between those who join, all the while exercising creativity and making exciting bracelets. Mrs. Ferster, the club’s faculty advisor, exclaimed, “This group of girls really enjoys hanging out with their friends while braiding cool designs.” Each member of the group contributes to the overall ambiance of the club by sharing ideas with others and by displaying intricate designs. The overall objective is to teach the girls that when many minds come together and ideas spread, so much more can come than when an idea stays within one person. With each girl adding a new idea and putting their own voice into the bracelet, the individual becomes a whole, and it produces a tangible product. The geography club is another interesting get-together that Hillel offers. The club brings together those who have an interest in geography and in the formation of the world. Learning about this matter will not only give the students more knowledge, but they will be able to share this information with their friends. The members also learn what is beyond the earth and how there is much more to what we see. The students can then make their own observations, which will allow them to better understand what they are learning, and will help them develop as students overall. Students who join this club have the opportunity to compete against in a geography bee at the end of the year. The hard-work and true understanding of the material will benefit the students in the end, for they will truly come together when they face off against other schools. Other Scheck Hillel clubs take students everywhere from Connecticut for a Model United Nations conference to New Orleans to rebuild homes. But, despite their vast differences, all of the clubs at Hillel serve to build a lasting bond between students and to teach them valuable teamwork skills that will follow them long after graduation. In addition, clubs allow students to take initiative, as students have the opportunity to create new clubs at the beginning of every school year.
Besides the various clubs, friendships can also be formed from the many sports that are available. Many students at Scheck Hillel play soccer, and they say that the practices and games help them build confidence in their everyday lives. Freshman Talya Schechter says, “Working with my teammates in practices makes our wins so much more victorious, not only because we worked hard to attain them, but because we are able to liberate them as a team.” The varsity sports teams face the commitment of waking up before dawn and staying late to practice, but the knowledge that they have the chance to bring Hillel home a trophy makes them push to work harder. Many students admire how much soccer unifies the student body, and the players, therefore, feel pride when walking around the school in their jerseys for game days. Being able to display that they are part of a team that the students and faculty admire pushes the players to work harder to make their friends proud. Apart from soccer, other students engage in football and say that although the sport is very competitive, the rush of adrenaline makes it all worth it. All interviewed students have stated that being on a team has greatly improved their social skills and has allowed all athletes to be themselves and more confident around others. Being active and sprinting on the field with teammates or friends creates a rush that cannot be created otherwise.
Joining clubs and sports allows individuals to work together with others and become more flexible in their everyday tasks. Getting together with others in clubs can build listening skills and will visibly allow members to associate what they learn in the clubs to the topics that they talk about with friends. Sports similarly allow students to learn responsibility and commitment which will certainly help to connect with classmates. Working on what one loves and doing what one loves to do can help them build confidence, branch out, and be more friendly with anyone that comes their way. Scheck Hillel offers a wide array of clubs and sports for students to join, all of which will allow students to actualize their potential and build invaluable skills.