Extracurricular activities back at BMLSS
BRACEBRIDGE - Sports, music and dances are back on the agenda at Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School.
Extracurricular activities have been on hold in high schools throughout the province since the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation told teachers not to participate to protest of Bill 115. On Feb. 22, the union sent a notice to teachers saying they can once again become involved in volunteer activities at the school.
By Feb. 28, the school held its first dance of the year and the next day, track and field athletes attended their first practice.
Principal Dave Golden is happy to hand his role in student parliament back to the teachers who are usually involved. Though he said he is always involved in some way, he took on a heavier load while teachers weren’t participating in extracurricular activities. “It’s great to have our first dance this Thursday,” Golden said.
Nicole Hinks, a Grade 11 student at the high school, is looking forward to attending band practice again.
“I feel like it’s a really good thing because without extracurricular activities there is nothing to do,” she said.
Jim Tomlinson, the guitar teacher at the school, said his guitar students are back to practising during lunch hour and after school, working toward their Rock Nugget Show in May.
Band practices are expected to get underway after March Break.
“It just didn’t make any sense to start those things for one or two weeks then take a break,” he said.
The sanctions forced some changes to the Christmas show this year that may impact future years. The ban on extracurricular activities was put in place after their first evening performance, so they invited every class in the school for a show during school hours so students would still have the opportunity to perform.
“We packed the theatre,” Tomlinson said
He is contemplating a similar performance for students in future years.
Golden couldn’t say how many of the extracurricular activities will return. Some of them will be on hold until next year because the season for things such as cross-country skiing is over. The rest of the activities he’s leaving up to teachers and how much they would like to do, he said.
The students are thrilled to see that sports are back, and he hasn’t heard any negative feedback from teachers yet, he said.
“This is certainly a school that likes to have a lot going on,” he said.
Earlier in the year some students were frustrated that they wouldn’t be able to attain sports scholarships for colleges and universities because they wouldn’t have a team to play on this year.
Golden said sports scholarships will have to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
“This school in particular doesn’t have a large percentage of students with athletic scholarships, so it’s difficult to say,” he said.