In preparation for Homecoming earlier this fall, and on a sunny, warm Saturday, 111 students armed with duct tape, painters’ tape and crepe paper descended on Prescott High School (PHS) to take on the challenge of decorating over 40,000 square feet of high school’s hallways. Even though the weather outside was delightful, the students spent over six hours decking the halls with boughs of glitter and glamour with the intent of improving the spirit at PHS. The number of students present for hall decorating rose 30% this year over last year’s attendance.
Why the increase in student involvement? For the current school year, PHS administration built time into Friday’s lunch schedule to allow students to join clubs, and as a result participation has significantly increased. PHS hosted 35 clubs during the 2013-2014 year, and that number has risen to a total of 43 clubs this year.
One of the new clubs is the Academic Honors Club, an academic honors society for freshmen and sophomore students. According to Heather Sands, a sophomore at PHS, the club is gaining a large following. “There are about 35 students who come to Academic Honors Club meetings every week,” she said. “It’s a great club because in order to be a member you have to have a high GPA and do community service. So, you get prepared to be National Honors Society (NHS) members.”
According to Sands, participation in clubs also helps students get involved in Prescott’s community. Several organizations on campus, including NHS, Key Club, AFJROTC, and Soroptimists Club (S-Club), require students to complete community service hours. During the pre-holiday season, NHS recently hosted an on-campus food drive for the Yavapai County Food Bank, and S-Club is hosting a coin drive for the Children’s Peace Project. “This is an awesome local charity to give to as we know that 100% of our donations go directly to the needs of students in Haiti,” Amanda Chartier, S-Club sponsor, said. “Last year we raised over $1,000!”
Students looking to add a bit of multicultural learning to their high school experience began clubs such as the Japan Club, Kendama Club and Advocates for a Difference (A4D). According to Nora Browning, a PHS senior, student-initiated clubs like A4D help students explore current events. “We started this club because we saw a number of injustices towards students, ranging from local things like school budget cuts to international dilemmas,” Browning said. “We want to support equality and empower students to stand up for their rights.”