School can be lots of fun; but seriously, when your mind travels down memory lane to your “glory days,” my guess is that most of the highlights happened outside of the classroom.

Co-curricular activities are the cornerstone in a child’s developmental journey. There is a special brand of self-knowledge learned through teamwork and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone to see what one is made of.

The lessons provided by a group’s dynamics are many. “Pecking” orders, established and emerging leaders and followers, and most importantly, learning to work as a team, all teach valuable lessons about joining in a common cause – making a commitment to one’s self and the group. The group takes on more significance than the individual members (people one likes and the people one might not like as much).

It is that sense of belonging and common mission that helps kids view themselves and the other participants in a more favorable light; and it can break down barriers that no classroom environment can. These experiences can give rise to reinventing oneself, trying on new roles, learning new social skills, and taking risks.  And of course, there are ongoing small victories and defeats – which are equally distributed to all participants – in obvious and sometimes subtle ways.

These experiences of joining and participating in something bigger than oneself are heightened under the watchful eye of a trusted mentor.  A good “coach” is that person in a student’s life who is willing to view him or her in the moment as well as through the lens of his or her potential;  said mentor is also willing to create an environment where the “measuring stick” might be different from the one used in the classroom. There is a communicated set of expectations and support that provide clear boundaries and a safe setting within which the student can operate and develop.

These wonderful opportunities are available in abundance at Harrisburg Academy, where educating the “whole child” is our top priority. Students have the advantage of participating in some or all of the following activities: drama, music, academic competitions, and/or sports. Each activity provides a unique opportunity for our students to begin building their future “glory days” memories with the personal mentorship of our faculty and coaches.