Q&A: How Extracurriculars Impact Academic Performance

Q&A: How Extracurriculars Impact Academic Performance
Joseph Cattolico, head varsity football coach and physical education teacher:
Joseph Cattolico, head varsity football coach and physical education teacher:

Q: Have you noticed any correlation between students’ involvement in football and their academic performance?

A: Yes, the academic performance of our student-athletes improves because of their participation in football.


Q: How do you encourage students to stay motivated both in school and on the field?

A: We check grades, communicate with teachers and families, and remind students about the importance of education to their lives.


Q: Are there any collaborative efforts between the athletic and academic departments?

A: Absolutely.  We collaborate on a daily basis to support our student-athletes academically.

Kevin Fagan, math teacher:
Kevin Fagan, math teacher:

Q: How have you noticed the grades and focus in your students in your class change since starting or ending extracurriculars?

A: I feel like it (extracurriculars) keeps them a little more focused because they have to be more on top of their work.


Q: How does that differ from students who don’t do extracurriculars? Is it a big difference?

A: Students that don’t do extracurricular activities I find to procrastinate more and often don’t do their homework a lot. I tend to find students who are more involved in extracurricular activities are better at staying on top of their work.


Q: How often does it occur that a student who does an extracurricular isn’t on top of their work? Is that more rare?

A: The coaches and the band leaders…do a good job of making sure that students at Granite Bay are doing their work ahead of time. It is more rare that a student would fall behind because of an extracurricular activity.

Damien Lawrence, water polo coach and biology teacher:
Damien Lawrence, water polo coach and biology teacher:


Q: What is your coaching philosophy regarding academics and waterpolo?

A: On campus coaches have the unique ability to blend the two. Both are supposed to mirror and prepare students for life, so the qualities I expect to see in my athletes should also be demonstrated in the classroom. Foremost of these is personal responsibility! Managing one’s time is paramount. If we have a tournament approaching, it is expected that students will communicate with their teacher and take care of all details without prompting by coaches or teachers. Essentially, I expect they will show an excellent work ethic in and out of the water and strive to improve in all they do.


Q: How does participating in water polo contribute to students’ discipline?

A: Water polo by its very nature is a pretty violent sport. A full contact sport, without any kind of protective gear, means at some point an elbow or fist is going to find an uncomfortable target. A natural reaction to getting struck is to get angry and respond in kind. We do a lot of talking about not being reactive and retaliating. This takes an extreme amount of discipline.

Q: Do you have any stories of athletes who have succeeded both academically and athletically?

A: We have a long list of students who have attended prestigious universities and play water polo, so that is nothing new. I think what has brought me the most pride is that this year’s team was crowned the San Joaquin Section Academic Champs. It is a new award but basically our water team had the highest unweighted GPA of any other team in the section.

Tanner Lawrence, varsity basketball captain:
Tanner Lawrence, varsity basketball captain:

Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you got into basketball?

A: I grew up playing basketball. My dad played it growing up so he kind of showed me the ropes and I just fell in love with it at an early age. We (have) played ever since.


Q: How do you balance schoolwork with basketball?

A: (I) make sure I’m productive with my time and just make sure there’s room for schoolwork and room for basketball.


Q: What have you learned in basketball that translates into your academic life?

A: Hard work and determination.

Seth Bousfield, varsity water polo captain:
Seth Bousfield, varsity water polo captain:

Q: How did you become involved in water polo?

A: My brother got me into water polo (in) eighth grade and I fell in love with it ever since.


Q: As a team captain, how did you balance the responsibilities of leading the team with your academics?

A: I just worked hard both in the pool and outside of the pool to earn the grades that I got.


Q: What skills have you gained in water polo that you apply to your academics?

A: I would say diligence and then along with that, hard work and I use that every day.

Evan Yu, band member:
Evan Yu, band member:

Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you got into band?

A: I’ve always enjoyed music. Seeing assemblies about band really caught my eye. I tried it at Excelsior and enjoyed it a lot. I continued it in junior high and now high school and it’s really fun.


Q: How do you think band contributes to your academic performance?

A: The people in band are really helpful. There’s at least one person that has taken the same class as me and could help me if I needed it.


Q: How do you handle the stress of band?

A: Band is not a stressful thing for me. I enjoy it which makes me not think of band as a class but as a hobby instead. It’s important to have the right mindset on band or you’re just wasting numerous hours of your time.

Soki Watanabe, varsity basketball player:
Soki Watanabe, varsity basketball player:

Q: Have there been any changes in your academic performance since becoming involved in basketball?

A: Definitely. When school became harder in sophomore and junior year…my grades dropped a little bit, but you know, I think that also goes towards time management.


Q: Have there been any teachers that have been extra supportive or helpful of balancing basketball and school?

A: My IB sports teacher McKeen. She’s been pretty nice about when I have morning practices. She’s usually okay with me sometimes coming in late because she understands I have to get changed.


Q: What advice would you give to students who want to find a healthy balance between academics and extracurriculars?

A: Don’t be lazy and start (your) work a lot earlier…don’t put it off till later.

Claire Miller, drama member:
Claire Miller, drama member:

Q: What ways do you think you’ve grown as an individual through drama?

A: I don’t get nervous anymore. I’m a lot more outgoing and I’m way less afraid to put myself out there and just talk to people.


Q: How do you think drama contributes to your academic performance?

A: It kind of gets me away from the books, which honestly still makes my grades sort of improve in some aspects.


Q: How do you balance school work with drama?

A: So a lot of times there’s empty rehearsal time and I’ll use that to do my homework. I would go early every morning to see my teacher and really make sure that I understood everything.

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About the Contributors
Anika Mahajan
Anika Mahajan, Staff Writer
Anika Mahajan is a freshman. This is her first year on the Granite Bay Today staff.
Anya Castro
Anya Castro, Staff Writer
Anya Castro is a freshman.  This is her first year on the Granite Bay Today staff.

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  • J

    JusticeApr 11, 2024 at 9:00 am

    I like that you interviewed a lot of different people with different hobbies. I also liked that you interviewed the teachers perspectives too.

  • C

    CharlieApr 11, 2024 at 8:54 am

    I really enjoyed this article, as someone who does extracurricular themselves I think this is an interesting way to display thoughts on this subject. I honestly thought that there were enough good sources, but maybe talking to a counselor about how to fit extracurriculars into schedules would be good.

  • S

    sophiaApr 11, 2024 at 8:47 am

    This story was super informative, I wish it wasn’t so repetitive. I like the numerous sources.