El Estoque

Why Activity Points devalue our commitments

Activity Points quantify our involvement in campus clubs and activities

Rana Aghababazadeh

When we first enter MVHS, we’re introduced to more than 90 clubs on campus, and we debate what electives to take in order to join a business club or participate in drama performances. On Club Promo Day, we type our email addresses into dozens of computers, signing up for clubs. After ignoring multiple club meeting reminders in our inbox, we get the chance to invest our time in only a select few clubs, often just one or two.

To honor our involvement in clubs and activities on campus, a system was created to award us for participating in school activities. Near the end of each school year, students are subtly given the opportunity to fill out a form that includes a multitude of campus activities, along with their point value. Students fill out specifications of their positions for the clubs or activities they’re involved in, along with an advisor’s signature.

Students who earn a certain number of points are awarded at Senior Awards night. The award categories are as follows:

 

 

It’s perhaps a motivational way to encourage students to participate in more activities, but the system only quantifies our involvement and the value of clubs and organizations that we dedicate our time and effort to. We cannot simply assign a point value to our activities on campus.

Take Challenge Day and Saturday Night Live as examples, which students are awarded 50 points for each. Challenge Day takes place only once a year, requiring the length of a school day for participation. The active involvement of participants is not enforced, whereas SNL actors, actresses and crews spend several hours each day after school for two weeks, rehearsing for perfection. Though some may argue that certain aspects of these two independent activities may be remotely similar, there is no justification as to why they are worth the same objective value.

It makes sense that some activities which require auditions may be awarded more points than a similar activity that doesn’t require an application, such as String Orchestra in contrast to Chamber Orchestra, the more advanced group requiring an audition. And it makes sense that a higher leadership position in a club is worth a greater number of points. But the Activity Point system doesn’t solely compare related activities; roles such as ASB President and Sports Statistician are compared using the same standard.  

Such comparisons do not mean that activities of a certain point value are more valuable than activities of the same value. The level of involvement, skills and dedication required for some activities are simply incomparable. Leadership officers often work together to plan out class activities, coordinating details and using public relations skills to promote their events. Students in Chamber Orchestra often use skills acquired from 10 or more years of practice to play in an ensemble. It makes little sense to compare these two starkly different activities using a mere number.

Activity Points detract from the holistic importance of activities on campus, activities which each bring something different to our school and provide a unique and rewarding experience for students.

There’s enough existing pressure to get involved in activities for impressing college admissions offices. Activity Points only add to that existing stigma. Rather than using Activity Points, there should always be motivation for participating in activities that does not come in the form of physical awards. We should be involved in activities for the sake of our own interests, not to receive a single award on a single night during the end of our senior year.

 

About the Writer
Rana Aghababazadeh, Co-editor-in-chief

Rana is a third-year member of El Estoque and is currently a co-editor-in-chief. She is a former sports editor and enjoys covering basketball and volleyball....