[Editorial] Extramural Extracurriculars [Persky Award Winner]
by The Milton Measure on Friday, December 5th, 2014
When freshmen start here at Milton, they can be overwhelmed by the multitude of clubs and activities offered. Although these choices may seem equal upon first consideration, the hidden hierarchy of clubs reveals itself upon closer inspection, from clubs that are strictly intramural to ones like Speech Team that compete at the national level every year. Though many activities are not conducive to extramural competition, others have the potential to reach far beyond Milton—but they are not exploiting that ability.
For instance, although many people have never considered joining Math Club, its potential to thrive as an extramural activity is undeniable. Recently, the Math Club took two teams of six (that’s a total of 12, for those of you not in math club) to the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament, where one of the teams, with minimal preparation compared to its competitors, placed in the top quartile. This event was the first time in many years that Milton has participated in a math competition. Given the strong underclassman talent in the teams, Math Club has the potential to become more competitive over the coming years.
This example is exactly the type of growth that benefits everyone involved: the students, who have the opportunity to interact with people outside of Milton; the school, which can gain recognition in new fields; and the teachers, who can work with students outside of a classroom setting. However, the competitive aspect of Math Club is in its infancy. It needs both time and continued support to realize its full potential.
With the exception of athletic activities, which have been especially successful this past fall, no extracurricular at Milton has had the competitive success that Speech Team has experienced. Sending dozens of students to tournaments on a regular basis, Speech Team is the quintessential extramural activity. Its members compete at a very advanced level, both individually and collectively. Founded floor(n/20) score and n (mod 20) years ago, it has had ample time to grow into the powerhouse that its members enjoy today.
One might wonder if any club could replicate Speech Team’s extramural success. The only way that Speech Team could be unique in its ability to thrive outside our community is if its members were the only students dedicated enough to spend their time outside of school and if they were the only ones qualified enough to succeed in extramural competitions. This assumption is likely not the case.
Not many could argue that Milton does not offer enough options for extracurricular activities. However, the competitive aspect of these activities is often neglected. At assemblies, we hear from 3FU, Miltones, Epic, and Octet, yet we never hear them competing with other schools. Though we have an exceptionally knowledgeable student body, our Quiz Bowl team is nonexistent. And despite our strong science program, we have no team working towards the National Science Bowl.
In order for these activities to thrive extramurally in the coming future, Milton has to start sooner rather than later. Any student leaders who add an extramural aspect to their clubs will need time to develop the activities so that they have the chance to truly contend in extramural competitions. If Milton’s clubs aim to compete outside our often sheltered community, as we at the Measure hope they do, their leaders should consider incorporating competitive elements now.
This editorial has been recognized by the Laurence S. Persky Memorial Award.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=6626