In 1980, National High School Activities Week came to fruition as part of an initiative by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to increase public awareness of the values and needs of interscholastic activity programs.
To encompass all interscholastic activities had to offer, Activities Week was expanded to Activities Month in 2012 on the recommendation of the NFHS Citizenship and Equity Committee (now known as the NFHS Student Services Committee). The transformation provided adequate time to properly celebrate the contributions and benefits students experience by participating in sports and performing arts.
Annually recognized in October, National High School Activities Month serves as a public reminder that every community possesses a comprehensive interscholastic program that addresses many of society’s most current concerns. To achieve this, National High School Activities Month:
“National High School Activities Week was given life in 1980 when the United States Congress approved the third week in October as National High School Activities Week,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports, sanctioning and student services. “What a young person learns after the school day is as important as what they get out of the daily academic curriculum.”
National High School Activities Month kicked off this year with “National Sportsmanship, Fan Appreciation and Public-Address Announcers Week” on October 4-10. The month-long celebration followed with “National Performing Arts Activities and Local State High School Associations Week” on October 11-17; “National Coaches, Advisors, Officials and Sponsors Week” on October 18-24; and “National Community Service/Youth Awareness Week” spanning October 25-31.
There are many ways to celebrate each week of National High School Activities Month. During “National Sportsmanship, Fan Appreciation and Public-Address Announcers Week,” the purpose is to encourage awareness and discussion about the importance of sportsmanship, ethics and integrity to the conduct of interscholastic programs, and a time to thank the spectators who support activity programs throughout the year. In addition, it is a time to acknowledge the dedication and service that public-address announcers perform every contest.
“National Performing Arts Activities and Local State High School Associations Week” is a time to highlight the students, coaches and sponsors involved in performing arts programs. This week is also an opportunity to recognize the local state activity/ athletic associations that sponsor these events. In the third week of October, “National Coaches, Advisors, Officials and Sponsors Week” offers the opportunity to recognize the contributions of all high school coaches, advisors, officials and sponsors.
Rounding out the month-long celebration is “National Community Service/Youth Awareness Week.” During this week, participants are encouraged to give back to their communities and show appreciation for their support of programs. Additionally, this week can be used to promote fund-raising efforts that support interscholastic programs. This week serves as a perfect opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles and prevention efforts. \
“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 Dr. Karissa Niehoff, NFHS executive director. “We have fundamental, empirical evidence that interscholastic activities provide a successful way in which to create healthy and successful citizens. Through National High School Activities Month, we have an opportunity to reflect on our participation as well as the participation of our children. Our nation must continue to support these programs and the life skills they provide America’s youth.”
In September, the NFHS provided state associations and high schools with a wealth of resources to promote National High School Activities Month. The materials included the NFHS National High School Activities Month Booklet and The Case for High School Activities Booklet, as well as the NFHS National High School Activities Month Toolkit.
The toolkit, which was produced to simplify the process of promoting this annual celebration, equipped state associations and high schools with co-branded materials for each week to place in gymnasiums, locker rooms, souvenir programs, as well as on website and social media platforms. Included were social media graphics, print and poster ads, digital graphics for email signatures and websites, and public-service announcements (PSAs).
For more information on National High School Activities Month, visit www.NFHS.org and select the “Campaigns” tab
Cody Porter is the manager of media relations in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department.