I always enjoy seeing which kids are making their marks in high school.
Of course, I look for names I recognize. Mostly, though, I look at what each student has achieved. And I admire their parents for all their work behind the scenes.
Studies show that kids who participate in extra-curriculars — marching band and symphony, drama and debate, sports — typically have higher grade point averages, lower absentee rates, fewer disciplinary problems and above-average graduation rates than their classroom-only peers.
The National Federation of State High School Associations has compiled research that shows participation in high school activities often foreshadows success in college and adult life.
These kids also are less likely to use illegal drugs or become teen parents, the research shows.
Further, extra-curricular kids are more likely to become adults who vote, volunteer and succeed in business. A Canadian study in 2006 found an average 78 percent of Alberta’s corporate CEOs and lawmakers played high school sports.
On Wednesday, the Peak Performers section was the first thing I read in the paper.
But it’s special for much more than that.
It’s proof, at least to me, that the research is true.
And it’s encouraging to me. Often, all we hear about is the kids in trouble and their poor choices that lead to arrests and tragedy.
Here’s a section full of stories about kids from every neighborhood in the city — rich and poor — who have worked hard and achieved success.
And I can tell you that many of the Peak Performers are more than just elite athletes.
Thanks to my son’s years of participation in sports, I’ve gotten to know dozens of his friends and their families, spread across the Pikes Peak Region.
In fact, I know most of the boys on the Peak Performers soccer team, starting with Mark Dotseth, the athlete of the year.
Great kid. Great student. Great leader.
But the same is true of boys up and down the first and second team: Garrett Fritzsche, Matt Olson, Taylor Badeau, Ryan Derby, Kyle Beerman, Joe Perez, Joey Mikulas, Jake Martinez, Joe Morales, Jon Hausknecht, Alex VanKeulen, Danny Childs, Ethan Strauch and the others.
I urge you to give it a hard look. And if you’re like me, you’ll smile. I’m thinking we’re looking at the next Greatest Generation.