By David Lias
Smaller Tanager athletic teams on the sidelines, and fewer vocal and instrumental musicians at VHS concerts aren’t a sign of dwindling interest in student activities.
The smaller numbers are more likely indicators of the effects of decreasing enrollment at the high school.
Dean of Students Jason Huska shared data at Monday’s Vermillion School Board meeting that show student participation in both athletic and fine arts in the school district per each sport and activity.
He has tracked the number of male and female participants in these various activities from 2007-08 to this year.
The total number of students that participated in fine arts, per year, are 137 in 2007-08; 137 in 2008-09; 148 in 2009-10; 153 in 2010-11; 141 in 2011-12; and 132 in 2012-13.
Student athlete numbers per school year are 204 in 2007-08; 197 in 2008-09; 193 in 2009-10; 187 in 2010-11; and 188 in 2011-12, and 198 in 2012-13.
“To me, it seems very consistent as far as our numbers go, being that our enrollment has changed slightly,” Huska said.
The data show that, percentage-wise, student participation as a whole in student activities varies little each school year. In the six school years from 2007-08 to 2012-13, the percentage of Vermillion students participating in fine arts has been 33 percent, 34 percent, 36 percent, 39 percent, 36 percent, and 36 percent, respectively.
Yearly student athletic participation during that same time period has been 48.6 percent, 49 percent, 47 percent, 48 percent, 48 percent and 54 percent, respectively.
High school enrollment has declined those six school years. Annual enrollment totals, from 2007-08 to 2012-13, are 419, 402, 409, 389, 388, and 364.
Athletic activities include football, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ cross country, boys’ and girls’ golf, boys’ and girls’ tennis, boy’s and girls’ track, wrestling, and gymnastics.
Fine arts activities included in the review include band, vocal, yearbook/journalism, student council, debate, drama, and oral interpretation.
The data indicates that youth programs in some activities are having a positive influence on some Vermillion High School activities. Wrestling numbers, for example, totaled 23 in 2007, when total high school enrollment was 419. This year, with a total VHS enrollment of 354 students, there are 26 wrestling participants. The wrestling squad doubled in the last year.
“We have good numbers in the youth programs and at the middle school and JV levels, so I think that (stronger numbers) will continue to stay consistent,” Huska said. “Those have been in place for awhile, and I think that’s key. We’ve had those programs in place, and we’re starting to see that climb – a couple more kids every year stick with it.”