Educational Activities Abound Outside The Classroom



The business of education is serious stuff. There are all kinds of encouraging words and reinforcement techniques emphasizing the importance of doing your best in class.

Outside the classroom, there are more opportunities for education -- the kind of education that students don't get behind a desk. To provide those additional opportunities, the schools of the Payson Unified School District provide an array of extra-curricular activities. Assisting in helping broaden the horizons of students are scouting, 4-H and church groups.


Students in George Conley's art classes at Payson High School know the value of lessons that go beyond academics. All Rim country schools offer extra-curricular opportunities for students.

At Frontier Elementary the goal is to provide the best education for the whole child, said Principal Gail Gorry. "With this in mind, we will still be offering band, chorus and strings during the school day and an arts-based after-school program -- called Wolf Impressions -- during the first and third quarters of the school year."

The students will have access to a climbing wall in the physical education dome, and with a donation of a collection of rocks and minerals from Rim country resident Jim Hansen, the students will have a special geology class offered in the after-school program.

"Research shows arts are closely connected to raising test scores in reading and math," Gorry said. "We know these activities give students a chance to excel and build social skills and self-esteem."

FES will have kindergarten through third grade Open House between 9 a.m and 3 p.m. July 28. Parents should have received letters regarding grade level times. If not, please phone the school office at (928) 472-2052. The fourth and fifth grade open house will occur on Aug. 5.

At Julia Randall Elementary we are excited about starting the new school year with "Back to School Night" from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 28, said principal Peggy Miles. "We hope all our students and their families will come and meet their teachers and find out what is happening in their classroom this year.

"We will have our scouting, chorus and band programs available for sign ups in the cafeteria."

Students can also participate in an after-school program where they have the opportunity to be in the orchestra, play games, learn rock climbing and chess, go fishing, or do arts and crafts projects.

"These extra-curricular activities provide a place for students to go that is safe and healthy. It helps them with their social skills, staying active, building self-esteem and citizenship, plus learning about caring, respect and responsibility," Miles said.

At Payson Elementary School we continue to offer a consistent balance of traditional and varied instructional delivery to fit student needs including an after-school intervention and enrichment program available to all students, principal Roy Sandoval said.

In the past the enrichment programs have included gardening, Ham radio operation, stamping, board games, computers, art and drama.

"The after-school program is funded through the Credit for Kids program which has done more to allow us to enrich kids' lives than anything that's come down the pike," Sandoval said.

The intervention part of the program helps students with their math, reading and writing skills, but keeps it fun, Sandoval said.

The scouting program will make a brief presentation at the school shortly after classes resume and send information home with those students interested in the program.

The PES Open House will be in mid-August and in addition to providing an opportunity for parents and teachers to meet, there will also be community entities on hand, along with the Parent Community Liaison.

During the school year, students will also have the opportunity to participate strings, band and/or intramural athletics. Among the athletic programs available during the lunch hour are football, soccer and basketball.

"The kids referee themselves," Sandoval said. He said those interested in officiating the games are taught the rules and even given striped shirts to wear.

At Rim Country Middle School this year there will be new classes for advanced and gifted students, a new class focusing on musical theater, a class in creative communication that combines the study of Spanish with drama, and a yearbook class.

Extra-curricular activities also available are the Outdoor Adventure Club, which gives its members the chance to hike, ski, go caving and rock climbing. There are other clubs too, such as the Builders Club, which is the middle school branch of the Kiwanis Club, and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, a nonprofit national vocational student organization for young men and women in family and consumer sciences education. Involvement in FCCLA offers members the opportunity to expand their leadership potential and develop skills for life -- planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision making and interpersonal communication -- necessary in the home and workplace.

The middle school also has a variety of sports available for students:

  • Aug. 2 through mid-October sports are football for seventh- and eighth-grade boys, softball for seventh- and eighth-grade girls, and cross country for all students in the sixth through eighth grades.
  • Mid-October, after the Oct. 4-15 break, wrestling for sixth through eighth grade starts, as does volleyball for girls in the seventh and eighth grades.
  • Following the winter break, Dec. 20 through Jan. 2, basketball is offered for both seventh- and eighth-grade boys and girls.
  • Track, for all students in the sixth through eighth grades, is held from March through early May.

At Payson High School students have a wide range of extra-curricular activities from which to choose.

The extra-curricular choices: Students Against Drunk Driving, Weight Club, VICA, Dance Line, Student Newspaper, Varsity Club, Key Club, Math Club, Special Olympics, National Honor Society, Thespians, Science Society, Spanish Club, Hike & Ski, and Interact Club.

Choices of co-curricular activities, which have a class base: choir, Special Olympics, yearbook, drama, Payson FFA, band, student government, Future Business Leaders of America, speech & debate, and STRIVE, a vocational class organization.

Athletics include: fall sports of football, volleyball, cross country, golf, spirit line and soccer; winter sports of wrestling, wrestlerettes, girls basketball, boys basketball, spirit line; spring sports of baseball, softball and track.

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