Class growth links students to opportunity


Ally Price, News Editor

With a new school year just beginning, there are many opportunities to get involved, and people like Carmen Danz are taking advantage of them. This year, she will be playing on the tennis and lacrosse teams, be involved in the theater program, read the morning announcements, and be a Link Crew commissioner.
“I think being involved is super important because that’s where you’ll meet new people and find your niche. It gets you out of your comfort zone in a way,” said Danz.
With forty-nine clubs and fourteen different sports available, Appleton North has offered students like Danz many ways to get involved and meet people in their school. She started her freshman year by joining lacrosse and theater, later joining tennis as a sophomore, Link Crew as a junior, and the announcements readers as a senior. She recommends always being willing to try new things, especially as a freshman.
“Explore all the different options, even if it’s nerve-wracking,” said Danz. “You can even start small; just join one club or talk to a few different people. It’s all about baby steps. North allows so many different opportunities for this to happen with so many different groups available to people.”
   Further growth
With this year’s freshman class being the biggest one yet and North’s population growing each year, there are more people than ever who are able to get involved. North’s programs are part of what is drawing people to the school.
“Our theater program is phenomenal. I know we have students come just for theater. We’ve had students come for our performance team, so sports can play a role in that, too,” said Associate Principal Mr. Dave Pynenberg. “But I would say that a majority of the time people are looking at the academics piece. We were a USA Today award winner for testing. Those things all play a part [in attracting new students].”
Due to a variety of factors, Appleton North’s student population has been consistently growing over the past few years. One of these reasons includes the growing freshmen classes each year. This year’s freshmen class included 476 students as of Aug. 16, but this number is expected to grow at least six or seven students between then and the third Friday count, which is a final count of students that occurs on the third Friday of September.
North is also gaining students in all grades due to open enrollment. Each year, schools will have students transfer in and out of the school, but North usually gains more students than they lose.     This year, North is projected to gain 30 or more students from in-district open enrollment and 60 to 75 from out-of-district.
Students are gaining new opportunities to open enroll that weren’t available in previous years. Outside of the regular open enrollment period, which closes late in the previous school year, students can now apply through alternate open enrollment, which doesn’t close until the new school year starts. Due to this new system, students can open enroll all throughout the summer, which can greatly impact class sizes; North generally gains 60 to 75 students in the month of July alone.

Lessons from experience
With all of these new students, the beginning of the school year can be a great time to meet new people and try new things. Getting involved has helped people like Danz learn to be themselves and explore their community. “Not only are you seeing different sides and views of other people, but you’re also seeing different sides of yourself. Getting involved widens the horizons of your personality,” said Danz.
While there are many exciting opportunities, it is also important to remember not to overdo it. Clubs, sports, and other activities may be seen as beneficial by many, but they can also be time consuming.
“When you first come in, academics should be first; make sure to get your feet on the ground,” said Pynenberg. “We definitely would like [students] to be part of the community, so getting involved in something they enjoy is important, but they should prioritize, because if they don’t keep a balance, these activities can have the reverse effect.”