The annual celebration of National High School Activities Month is underway for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) and the 50 other state high school associations that are members of the National Federation of State High School (NHFS) Associations.

The month-long celebration in October offers member high schools an opportunity to recognize the contributions and benefits to student-athletes participating in sports and other high school activity programs. 

Each week of the October celebration places an emphasis on the importance of high school sports programs. Those areas include National Sportsmanship, Fan Appreciation and Public-Address Announcers Week (Oct. 1-5), National Performing Arts Activities Week (Oct. 6-12), National Coaches/Sponsors/Advisors/Officials Week(Oct. 13-19) and National Community Service/Youth Awareness Week (Oct. 20-26).

National High School Activities Month serves as a reminder to students, parents, coaches, officials and others in communities across Wisconsin and the United States about the values and benefits of high school sports. Additionally, the month-long celebration assists in addressing society’s most current issues by:

— Finding and nurturing the best effort of each participant;

— Encouraging students to stay in school, perform better academically and become better citizens;

— Demanding respect for fair play and appreciation for the equitable application of procedures, rules and regulations;

— Providing healthy lifestyle instruction; and

— Challenging racism, sexism and classism through the active pursuit of teamwork and school spirit. 

Introduced in 1980 as National High School Activities Week, the NFHS expanded the celebration to a month several years ago to provide additional time for high schools to hold special activities at the local level. The program was started to increase the public’s awareness of the values and needs of high school activity programs, which is a purpose that remains paramount today.

“National High School Activities Month provides administrators, coaches and teachers a platform to reinforce the role played by high school activity programs in communities throughout the nation,” said Karissa Niehoff, NFHS executive director. “Each and every young person has something to offer and, similarly, everyone in a school community is an integral member in shaping our youth through the character-defining values afforded to them by education-based activities. With almost eight million participants in high school sports and about four million in performing arts and other activity programs, we have much to celebrate.

“High school sports and activity programs provide one of the best bargains in our community and nation and will continue to do so as long as our nation supports them as an integral part of the education of our young people,” said Niehoff. “Not only do these programs teach the more than 12 million young people who participate in them valuable life skills lessons, such as ethics, integrity and healthy lifestyles, they also provide the best entertainment value in our nation.”