Advocating for academic activities at RBHS


infographic by Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Kafi

Jenna Liu

infographic by Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Kafi
infographic by Abdul-Rahman Abdul-Kafi
Support for RBHS is evident across Columbia. Parents sit on cold bleachers Friday nights at weekly football games and overfill the PAC for show choir performances.
While these activities enjoy a lot of success and bring pride to the school community, there are many other extracurricular activities that have also accomplished much but don’t seem to enjoy the same level of emotional or financial support.
Behind the bright lights on the field and stage stand a group of individuals whose goal is simple: support, however and whenever it can. This is a booster, an organization that exists to raise money and coordinate events for a specific activity. Booster clubs at RBHS support many different activities, ranging from football to show choir, and typically consist of parents and community members who have ties to either the activity or its participants.
This association of volunteers works to fundraise and provide emotional encouragement. Without their fierce commitment and voracious cheerleading, there would be no driving force for the school to recognize the activity’s wide support, and by extension, care about its success.
Furthermore, the absence of boosters’ fundraising efforts can have serious financial implications, which is a terrifying reality that many other activities at RBHS face to a degree.
Last year, the speech and debate team went into debt because of the cost of bus rides and hotel rooms for tournaments which totalled in the thousands. Model United Nations requires each participant to pay $1,000 because all the flights and registration fees have to be covered with no district funding.
Bake sales can only go so far. In fact, they’re not even permitted on campus anymore, so what other options do these clubs have?
The best possible solution is to create a booster that encompasses all academic activities. The word “academic” is used loosely, as athletics and fine arts are certainly educational pursuits. However, activities like Model UN or Quiz Bowl just don’t categorically fit with already existing boosters for all encompassing boosters like the Bruin Athletic Booster Club or the Bruin Band Boosters.
This booster can act not only as an advocate but can also as a fundraiser to relieve kids from the worry of how they will pay for doing something they love. There are already parents and teachers that enthusiastically support these students; now it is time to actually consolidate this support into an organized group.
There is already support for an academic booster at RBHS. A recent poll conducted by The Rock found that out of 176 students, 140 believe that academics should have a booster, while 35 said no and one was unsure. This shows that now is a prime-time for students who belong to academic activities at RBHS that are chronically underfunded and undervalued to take actions to change that.
Students can speak with fellow classmates and teachers about forming an academic booster, or contact parents and community members who may be interested in taking leadership positions in a potential booster. All this can begin to build the foundation of what may be a great enterprise.
Some might ask if grouping many diverse activities under the broad banner of an “academic booster” is disingenuous, but the answer is that there are many ways to still maintain the individuality of each activity while still putting it with others for increased support.
For example, small groups advocating for each club could form under the booster’s umbrella. Nonetheless, it would still be an improvement over the current situation that many financially starved activities face today.
No student at Rock Bridge should have to abandon an activity because he or she cannot afford to participate. No activity at Rock Bridge should receive any less recognition or respect than another. Boosters will not only help these clubs in terms of financial and emotional support, but they will also give them the perception that the community, that Rock Bridge, actually cares.
By Jenna Jiu