Teenage students at John Gray High School recently demonstrated en masse their talents, interests and aspirations by spending their lunchtime learning about and signing up for extracurricular activities.
Some 22 clubs offered 42 different activities – ranging from school band to the new Auto and Flight Club – during the school’s annual Clubs exposition. Many of these fun and educational events take place during school time, while others are held after school or on weekends, said a GIS press release.
Awards schemes like Asdan offer students sports, arts, adventure and community service; Study for Success is an academic-focused club; while FOCUS is an inter-denominational fellowship which seeks to encourage Christian growth and leadership abilities in teenagers.
As the sign-up lines indicated, Junior Achievement remains a popular choice for budding entrepreneurs. The club now has 12 companies on Grand Cayman, and the Brac chapter was recently reinstituted.
John Gray Careers Counsellor Maggie Jackson, who managed a sign-up booth, said that participation in clubs of their choice allows teenagers to gain valuable experience and membership also presents opportunities for international connections and friendships.
All the clubs offer important pastimes; the peer counselling group allows students with a gift for listening and advising friends an avenue to help peers overcome obstacles in their educational and personal development. Likewise, the Cadet Corps programme is open to all high school students and was recruiting new members to join the existing 80 boys and girls in its high-discipline units.
Many established groups like Youth to Youth, Steel Band, Chess, Key Club and the Duke of Edinburgh programme offer students fun experiences during their developmental years. There are also new clubs on offer this year, including the Red Cross; the Wellness Club; Agriculture; and Girls’ Cricket and Rugby. In addition, girls and boys alike were drawn to the new Fashion and Talent Club, which the student organizers say will develop self-confidence and expression.
Teenage counsellor Sarah Powery commented, ‘It’s important to join a club, for it keeps us occupied, it enhances our education and we make new friends with whom we never would have suspected that we could share the same interests.’
Clubs exposition coordinator, teacher Nat King, was delighted with the students’ enthusiasm. ‘The response was great, with so many young people registering their interests. These clubs serve to make students aware that there’s a lot more to education than academics,’ he said.
‘Life skills and special certificates help them become well-rounded, which is important personally, and also in today’s job market. What often stands out with potential employers is a young person with good qualifications, but who has also developed their team-building and communication skills, as well as their self-esteem.
‘The clubs provide our students with a solid foundation which will stand them in good stead.’