In order to reduce the financial burden on students to attend school events and participate in athletics, Woodland High School provided ASB cards to every student free-of-charge for the 2018-2019 school year. ASB cards enable students to get into home games and student performances free-of-charge. Students also receive discounts on away games and school dances. In addition, students interested in participating on athletic teams are required to have an ASB card.
In prior years, ASB cards cost $25 each, but this year, there’s no cost thanks to efforts made by Principal John Shoup, “We wanted to increase student attendance at school events as well as remove financial burdens from students who would like to attend but might not have the money to do so,” he explained. “If students have an ASB card, there is no longer an admission cost preventing them from attending events.” In addition to free admission to school events, the free ASB cards reduce the cost for students to participate in athletics from a previous cost of $100 to play on a team to $75.
Increasing student attendance at school events improves morale throughout the school and has been a long-time goal of the school's administration
The administration team wanted to increase student attendance at school events for some time. “This idea has been two years in the making and John found a way to build the cost into our building budget,” said Paul Huddleston, Athletic Director for Woodland Public Schools. “Our hope is that we can encourage more students to not only participate in athletics as student players, but also attend school events which increases overall morale throughout the school.”
Student participation at athletic events can make a huge difference. “Our teams feed off the energy coming from the student support,” Paul said. “Our athletes and coaches work really hard for Game Day so we can be proud to say we are Woodland Beavers – they deserve that support and it’s great to see an effort to make it happen.”
Hannah Landrigan, a senior at WHS, and Kelly Wiest, a junior, play together on the school’s soccer team and experience the difference student support makes first-hand. “Having people you know in the stands gives you someone to play for – their presence actually improves your play,” explained Hannah. Kaley agreed, “If there’s not a lot of student support, it can be hard to get as motivated, but when you’ve got friends and classmates cheering you on, their support makes the games feel important to the school.”
In addition to increasing student attendance, Hannah thinks the free ASB cards may drive up community attendance at sporting events, too, “When parents hear their kid’s going to a game, they might come, too, to make it a family activity and enjoy the Woodland spirit together.”
In addition to sporting events, students can also attend their classmates' theater and musical performance at no cost, too
Hannah currently serves as ASB President and sees the free ASB cards making a big difference in many ways. “Already having an ASB card reduces the price of attending dances, drama performances, and musical concerts, too,” she said. “When you’re young, a discount of a few dollars can make the difference between being able to afford to go to a dance or not.”
The students observed more of their classmates talking about attending this year’s Homecoming Dance than in prior years. “Homecoming is always a big event for the high school, but there’s an increased interest in Homecoming this year,” explained Kaley. “Making the admission $3 instead of $5 may sound like a small change, but it makes all the difference for students being able to attend school events on a limited budget.”
Students attribute the close-knit spirit of the high school student body to the school's small size and the students' acceptance of new people
Hannah and Kaley think increasing student engagement makes a bigger difference in small school communities like Woodland High School than it might in larger schools. “Woodland is a small, tight-knit community – everyone knows everyone unlike larger schools where people segment themselves into specific groups,” said Kaley. “We have different interest groups in Woodland, too, but kids flow from one group to another with a lot of overlap.”
To Hannah, the small-town community spirit of Woodland flows throughout the high school. “We’re a family and we accept new people into every group,” she said. “I haven’t met any new students who have trouble meeting people because we value everyone; ASB reflects this ideal and I think these free ASB cards are going a long way to bringing everyone even closer together.”
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