LETTER TO EDITOR: Cutting extras will drive students to neighboring towns
I completely agree with Cheryl's take on her proposal to cut the extracurriculars in Perham. The reason I so strongly support this recommendation is that it would greatly benefit the town directly east (New York Mills) and the town directly west (Frazee-Vergas). The first is the community that I grew up in, and the latter is the community that I currently teach in. If extacurriculars were cut in Perham I believe that the enrollment in the two neighboring schools would skyrocket. These two schools would thrive at Perham's expense. Perham has spent the last century building a reputation as one of the powerhouse schools in the area. If Perham cut their extracurriculars they would essentially be digging their own grave.
It was stated in your article that 70 percent of the students in the Perham High School participate in extracurriculars. I agree that these activities should not be the main focus of the school district, but rather a quality education should be. That being said, these activities are extremely vital to the success of the students and the entire Perham community. According to the Commerce Department's Census Bureau, "...75 percent of 12-to-17-year-old children who participated in an extracurricular activity are on track academically, compared with 60 percent of children in this age group who did not participate in such activities."
This proves that extracurriculars and academic success go hand in hand. Extracurriculars play a key role in overall community moral. At many events you see Perham community members rallying together in support of the same cause.
I too agree that we are facing tougher economic times than I have witnessed in my lifetime. I see this as all the more reason to support extracurricular activities.
A family of four can go to an entertaining affair such as a sporting event, performing arts contest or other community activity put on by one of the many groups found within the Perham School District for a very reasonable price. Plus, they will have the self-satisfaction knowing that they are supporting the local youth.
I myself do not know the answer to Perham's budget concerns, but I do know one idea that can be crossed off the list. Extracurricular activities helped build the Perham School District into the dynasty it has become. Eliminating them would be detrimental to the well-being of the school and community.