By Terry Dean
More students participated in co-curricular and sports activities at Oak Park and River Forest High School last year, according to data released by the high school.
A total of 2,286 students were involved in at least one activity during the 2012-13 school year, compared to 2,259 students the previous year. Last year's figures represent 71 percent of the study body, which totals just over 3,200 students, according to OPRF's annual extracurricular participation report released last week.
The report notes that many students are involved in more than one sports or co-curricular activity. School officials have urged students to participate in at least one activity. They have also urged greater participation among minority students. According to the report, a total of 902 minority students participated in activities in 2012-13, up from 818 the previous year.
While the overall minority figure increased in the last year, involvement among African Americans declined. A total of 510 black students participated in 2011-12, compared to 492 last year. Hispanic students, on the other hand, increased their involved by nearly 50 percent, from 96 to 181 in 2012-13.
Overall, participation by gender was roughly even, with slightly more girls, 51 percent, than boys.
OPRF offers 29 sports and 68 activity programs to students.
APPLE hosts reading specialist
Parent group APPLE (African-American Parents for Purposeful Leadership in Education) hosts reading specialist and educator Dr. Edyth Young at its Monday, Nov. 4, monthly meeting.
Her talk focuses on helping students improve their ACT scores. Parents are encouraged to bring students, grades 6-9. The meeting is scheduled from 7 to 8:30 p.m. (dinner 6:30-7 p.m.), at OPRF, 201 N. Scoville Ave., in the south cafeteria. For more information, call 708-383-3090.
St. Giles, Austin students help needy families
Students from Oak Park's St. Giles School and Christ the King Jesuit Academy in neighboring Austin spent the summer fixing up homes for low-income families in central Appalachia.
The students took part in the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) in July. They joined volunteers from around the country, helping to repair homes for families in the rural, mountainous area. Based in Johnson City, Tenn., the ASP's youth program serves 14- to 18-year-olds, with teens assigned a family to work with.
The weeklong excursion last summer took part in states including Kentucky, North Carolina and West Virginia. The students helped paint houses, repair roofs, hang drywall and fix floors.
The Appalachia Service Project is a year-round, faith-based program that began in 1969, with teens and adults fixing homes in Kentucky. The program has since expanded, with more than 300,000 volunteers repairing 15,000 homes since its inception, according to the organization's website (asphome.org).