During the March 13 Western Dubuque School board meeting, WD High School Activities Director Tyler Lown explained the correlation between student involvement in extracurricular activities and academic success.
In total, WDHS school offers 46 activities for students to participate in, ranging from sanctioned athletics through the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and Iowa High School Athletic Association to organizations like FFA and Future Business Leaders of America and clubs for chess, art and backpacking.
According to Lown, the activities vision at WDHS “will create a strong culture of excellence by committing to developing every Bobcat through multiple leadership and service opportunities, while acting as a source of pride for students, staff, parents and community members.”
When it comes to athletics, Lown said the high school is successful because it allows student-athletes to develop at a level that best prepares them for growth. He cited teams at the freshmen, sophomore, junior varsity and varsity levels as examples.
Citing building statistics, Lown said the more involved students are, the higher their grade point average.
“We have 60% of our students in one or more activities, with 35% of students involved in multiple activities. The average GPA for students not involved in any activities was 2.75, in one activity 3.31, two activities 3.37, three activities 3.5 and four activities 3.6.”
Lown told the board the results reflect the “Bobcat Way.”
“We see that through our Leadership Student Activity Advisory Committee — in addition, we hold the Mississippi Valley fall and winter sportsmanship trophies.”
Lown said highlights included five state dance team championships, two dance individual state champions, FFA individual and team champions, national championships in FFA and dance, Quiz Bowl and FBLA state champions and individual color guard state champions. In addition, 70% of speech entries have advanced to the state contest, with five Division I ratings in band competitions, all-state band selections and seven finals appearances for show choir, including a grand champion designation in the last two years.
In athletics, Lowns said over 600 students have earned academic all-conference honors. Bobcat teams have won four state championships with 14 top-four finishes and 21 top-eight finishes. Individuals have won 12 state championships and 19 top-four finishes.
“It takes a lot to make our activities run,” he added, “but we have a great process and great people running our programs.”
In other board news:
• The board approved the 2023-24 school calendar. Teacher in-service will begin Aug. 17-18 and Aug. 21-22 with orientation for sixth, ninth and new students Aug. 21. Classes will begin Aug. 23 for grades K-12 with preschool students beginning Sept 5. Wednesday will be two-hour early dismissal days for students. The last day for seniors is May 15 with graduation scheduled for May 19. Pending no snow days, the last day of school is scheduled for May 21.