Benefits Beyond Academics

When choosing a private high school, prospective students and their families should take a good look at extracurricular offerings – including sports, clubs, activities, performing arts and more – that both complement the academic experience and contribute to students’ personal growth and overall well-being. 

Remember: Because they are independent, private schools are able to follow their own mission, vision and values to create their own holistic learning experience for students. This includes offering rigorous academics as well as diverse extracurricular options that reflect and strengthen the school’s culture, community and even faith. Every school offers different opportunities to explore your interests – so do your homework!

The Experts Agree

Research shows that participating in a variety of extracurricular activities, including sports and leadership positions, offers high school students numerous benefits. In fact, according to the U. S. Department of Education, “Adolescents who participate in extracurricular activities demonstrate higher levels of academic achievement, greater character development, greater social development, and a greater sense of the importance of community involvement.”

Let’s take a look:

  1. Personal Fulfillment: Engaging in sports, the arts, and holding leadership roles can offer students a profound sense of personal fulfillment. It brings a feeling of accomplishment, fosters a sense of belonging, and instills pride in their achievements.
  2. Character Development: Extracurricular activities play a crucial role in character development. Private schools often prioritize the cultivation of discipline, integrity, dedication, teamwork, resilience, empathy and other important qualities in their students, and extracurriculars provide a platform for fostering these qualities.
  3. Life Skills: Balancing practices, games, and leadership responsibilities teaches students valuable time management skills, helping them prioritize tasks and manage their schedules effectively. Holding leadership positions in clubs or teams also allows students to develop leadership skills such as decision-making, problem-solving, and motivating others, preparing them for future leadership roles.
  4. College Preparation: Participation in extracurricular activities can enhance students’ college applications and prepare them for the challenges of higher education. Colleges value students who demonstrate involvement in sports and leadership positions, recognizing the leadership, teamwork, and personal growth experiences gained through these activities.
  5. Networking Opportunities and Community Building: Participation in sports and leadership positions exposes students to a diverse network of peers, coaches, and mentors, expanding their social circle, building a stronger sense of community and providing valuable networking opportunities for the future.
  6. Wellness and Mental Health: Extracurricular activities provide outlets for students to pursue their interests, relieve stress, and maintain overall well-being. Private schools recognize the importance of supporting students’ mental health and may offer a variety of activities to cater to different interests and needs.

Overall, robust extracurricular offerings align with the mission of private schools to provide a comprehensive and enriching educational experience that prepares students for success in all aspects of their lives – and their futures.

A Holistic Approach at St. Thomas

St. Thomas High School,  a private, Catholic college prep school for boys in Houston, Texas, offers a robust extracurricular program that reinforces the school’s holistic approach to rigorous education, academic achievement, personal growth, and character development rooted in faith.

Athletics –  St. Thomas High school has a tradition of excellence, which strives to succeed on the field of competition and in the development of student character and faith; the school offers 12 sports with multiple team levels while competing in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial School (TAPPS), capturing 18 state championships since 2012 including the 2016 track and field crown for the milestone 100th state title in school’s rich and storied history.

Dozens of Clubs and Organizations – from rocketry to robotics to National Honor Society, Model United Nations, Lego Club, student media and more – enrich the learning experience at St. Thomas. These organizations provide students with the opportunity for school and social service and to pursue activities in various fields of interest.  Student participation in these organizations is highly encouraged.

Fine/Performing Arts – The St. Thomas Fine Arts Department serves as a catalyst for students to express and realize their creative potential by providing a personalized and rigorous learning environment. Students develop critical and creative thinking skills and nurture performance skills through training, practice and performances in band, choir and theater. These performances and exhibitions are events attended by students, the community, and extend to state and national competitions – enriching the overall cultural life of St. Thomas.

Above all. St. Thomas High School encourages students to discover their purpose. Through exposure to and participation in a variety of interests, the school endeavors to spark their imaginations and so they can pursue their individual passions and enjoy the most satisfying educational experience possible.

For more information about what makes a St. Thomas High School education decidedly different, please please explore the rest of our website