Co-Curricular Opportunities

Elgin Academy’s Upper School offers a number of co-curricular opportunities that appeal to a wide variety of interests. In choosing co-curricular clubs and activities students should think about where their energies, time, and talents can be engaged most productively. In addition, commitments should be made with an eye toward putting together the strongest possible profile to present for college admission. When reviewing co-curricular activities, colleges look for depth and leadership in an area, not breadth ; therefore, students are encouraged to be passionate about a few commitments as opposed to being on the periphery of many organizations.

Below you’ll find short descriptions of a number of the co-curricular opportunities available at EA. Note that this may not be a comprehensive list due to the fluid nature of offerings based upon the needs and desires of the Upper School community. Each co-curricular activity is largely student driven with the support of at least one faculty sponsor. New organizations can be created when student interest and faculty resources allow for additions.

Co-curricular Opportunities for Upper School Students

Student Body Elected Organizations

Athletic Council: The purpose of the Athletic Council is to promote the athletic program at the school and to provide additional leadership opportunities for Upper School students. The executive council positions (president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and public relations officer) are elected in the spring and the class representatives (two from each grade) are elected in the fall, providing an opportunity for new students to serve on the council.

Student Council: The Student Council is the Upper School’s representative form of student government. The Student Council President presides over all Monday US assemblies, and the council and its various committees are responsible to promote school spirit, to plan and organize social events, to sponsor community service projects, and to be effective, positive leaders in the school community. The executive council positions (president, vice-president, secretary, parliamentarian, treasurer, and public relations officer) are elected in the spring and the class representatives (two from each grade) are elected in the fall, providing an opportunity for new students to serve on the council.

Organizations with an Application / Selection Process

Band: An Upper School band program facilitated by Music Education Services will be initiated in 2017-2018. This co-curricular opportunity will most likely involve two-to-three meetings per week that could take place before or after school or during lunch / sixth-period study hall. Note that there will be a fee for this program. More details will follow in Spring 2017.

Cum Laude Society: This is a national academic honor society whose membership is based solely on grade point average. Each spring the top 10% of the junior class and the top 20% of the senior class is admitted to the society.

International Thespian Society: This group honors high school students for outstanding work in theatre and also strives to increase enjoyment of theatre arts for students both now and in their adult lives. Membership is granted for the performance of meritorious work in theatre arts through participation in productions. Students become members by earning points for work in both performance and non-performing areas. After participation in an initiation ceremony at which initiates present a small performance of their choice, new members are accepted into the group and are then eligible to participate in the society’s theatre outings around the Chicago area.

National Honor Society: Each year during the Second Semester, all students in the 10t h , 11t h , and 12t h grades with a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher are invited to apply for membership in this national organization, whose purpose is to recognize and honor students exhibiting the four characteristics that the society has established as criteria for membership: scholarship, character, leadership, and service. Students must complete an NHS information sheet, which allows them to exhibit their efforts in meeting membership criterion. Final selection of initiates is facilitated by faculty committee with reference to ratings of applicants done by all Upper School faculty members.

Student Ambassadors: These students work under the direction of the Admission Office to take prospective families and other visitors on tours of the EA campus both at Saturday Admission Receptions as well as other times throughout the school year. These students are also likely to serve as hosts for visiting students. Interested students are required to submit an application, with final selection made by the Director of Admission.

Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE): Members of the WYSE team compete with teams from other school by taking tests in various subject areas. Competition takes place at a local level, with qualifying teams advancing to regional and state level competitions. Students are invited to participate on the basis of a combination of past and current academic progress, demonstrated achievement in specific subject areas, and faculty recommendations.

Yearbook Editorial Staff: Positions of greater responsibility on the Yearbook staff (editor, business manager, etc.) are selected by the yearbook’s faculty advisor. These key people are essentially responsible for the entire production of the book, and the advisor bases his/her selection on the quality of the student’s past work as well as their willingness and availability to really commit to this yearlong task.

Interest Based Clubs and Activities

Art for a Cause: This is a club for students who would like to use their artistic talents to benefit others. Club members, collectively and / or individually, create art or then donate the proceeds from the sale of the art to a charitable cause.

Big Brother / Big Sister: Upper School students are paired with Lower School students to serve as “buddies” and role models. A variety of activities are planned throughout the year which provide opportunities for interaction between big brothers and sisters and their little siblings (reading together, Homecoming activities, etc.)

Chess Club: Upper School students who wish to learn the game or hone their skills are welcome to stay after school periodically to play with peers and faculty.

Community Service: This group of students participates in a variety of community service activities in and beyond Elgin. Service opportunities may include providing breakfast and cleaning facilities at a P.A.D.S. (Public Action to Deliver Shelter, a local homeless shelter) and serving dinner at a nearby soup kitchen . A recent addition to Elgin Academy’s community service outreach is Kids-4-Kids , through which Upper School students visit the Boys and Girls Club near EA on a regular basis to interact with children. Traditionally, a week-long service trip is available for an additional cost during Spring Break. Recent destinations include Nicaragua (Outreach 360) and South Dakota (Re-Member).

The Cupola: This student-led school newspaper allows students to explore journalistic interests with a goal of releasing several issues throughout the school year.

Dough Gooders: This group of students enjoys developing and sharing their baking talents through bakes sales and a cookie-ordering service. All proceeds are donated to various charities.

Encore: This co-curricular activity is for those students who are interested in singing, but do not have time in their academic schedule to take Upper School Choir. This co-curricular choir meets before school two times a week and participates in the December Choral Program, the March Choral Program, and the May Choral Program, and graduation. No previous experience is necessary ~ just a desire to sing!

Environmental Club: Students interested in learning about ways to protect and care for our planet are encouraged to join this club. In past years students have advocated for recycling, worked to remove invasive species in local forest preserves, and organized Earth Day celebrations.

Gavel Club: Students in this organization meet periodically during lunch for discussion surrounding current events.

Literary Magazine: Students interested in the production of the EA Literary Magazine are welcome to join this group. In addition to submitting their writing, students on the staff are responsible for soliciting others to submit work, organizing the layout of the publication, typing copy, proofing, etc.

Mock Trial: This organization is an academic activity open to any student who has an interest in the law. Students learn how a court case is prepared and litigated. Real world cases are discussed and the strategy and tactics of how a case is litigated are explored. Students simulate trial proceedings, acting as lawyers and witnesses and compete in a Mock Trial competition.

Model United Nations: This organization spends a great deal of time preparing for the several United Nations Conferences. The school’s delegation is assigned a country and in the months leading up to conferences, members of the team prepare position papers and discuss international political, economic, social, and human rights issues, especially as they relate to the assigned country. On the floor of conference, delegates have the opportunity to present their ideas and react to events as they unfold. The country assigned limits the size of the delegation, and the application process for membership on the delegation involves writing a paper. The goals of the program are as follows: to educate high school students in the arts of debate, negotiation, and public speaking by providing a forum in which they can hone their skills; to introduce high school students to the fascinating realities and complexities of international relations through simulation of international organizations; and, to demonstrate the potential of the United Nations in resolving international problems while demonstrating its limitations. In recent years, EA students have participated at Model UN Conferences at Waubonsie Valley High School and Northwestern University (NUMUN - an conference that draws 600+ students from around the globe).

Students Alliance For Equality (S.A.F.E.): Students interested in learning about the diversity of the human population, educating others about these differences, and promoting inclusion are more than welcome to join this club.

Stock Market Simulation Game: This activity is open to any student with an interest in following the stock market. Students form teams, which then track the market in the Chicago Tribune and on the Internet and send their “picks” to the sponsors of the game, who monitor each team’s progress. At the end of the simulation all teams that participated are ranked.

Tech Club: Students in this organization decide upon and delve into special interests regarding technology. Past areas of interest include artificial intelligence, microprocessors, and three-dimensional printing.

Writing Club: This club is for students who are committed to the writing process, and for those who want to write more than the regular classroom allows. We will focus mainly on creative writing (stories, poems, narratives, personal essays), and we will give and receive constructive criticism. Writing Club will be a workshop environment.

Yearbook Staff: Although the editorial staff positions on the yearbook are appointed, anyone with an interest in photography, writing, layout, sales, or just helping out is welcome to join the general staff.