Finley Offers Plenty of Clubs and Sports
When the school day ends at J. Taylor Finley Middle School, many students stick around and participate in the after-school club and sports programs. Finley boasts an almost astonishing rate of student involvement and that suits the school principal just fine.
"Every effective and successful school and school district must have an extra-curricular program of student clubs, performance groups and sports teams," Finley Principal John Amato said. "Research is clear that students that perform at high levels academically also participate in extra-curricular activities."
Some clubs come and go while others have been around for most of Finley's nearly five decades of service to the community. Some teachers have a special interest in a particular area and seek approval to form a club. When such a teacher retires, the club is sometimes retired along with the individual largely responsible for it. Then all of a sudden, a new club will sprout.
The student council is the most established of any club and plays a key role in organizing school dances and community service projects, as well as pitching in to help Mr. Amato and Assistant Principal Kenneth Parham around the building.
The drama club is another popular group that annually attracts dozens of students to its ranks. Some teenagers without a flair for the dramatic opt to join the stage crew and assist behind the scenes. There are clubs that exist specifically to help others, such as the friendship club and ones that cater to specific talents, such as the art club.
Finley's sports program is one of the strongest in Suffolk and Falcon teams are often counted among the best in the county. Large numbers of student-athletes typically fill rosters and blanket the spacious fields surrounding the building. The fall pep rally provides evidence of just how important sports are to the school and student morale.
Whether it's the Yorker club for history buffs, intramurals for those who want a little bit more activity than physical education class provides, the community club for service-minded teenagers, the honor society, the school newspaper or one of several other organizations, Finley has an after-school activity for every student.
The sports program is spread over four different seasons, including two separate winter seasons, allowing interested students to participate on four teams. Hundreds of students choose to take part annually and coaches hope the tradition continues.
"Approximately 50 percent of the student body participates in some sort of after-school activity," Mr. Amato said. "I am proud of our offerings."