No matter what you are passionate about there is an extracurricular activity for every student at Taos High School (THS). From band and chorus to poetry and student government, there are more than 20 clubs offered. “All of our organizations want students to grow, take on leadership roles, be productive and represent our school and community positively. Students learn so much through activities,” says Nickie McCarty who oversees THS activities, in addition to being the athletic director.

Leadership skills

McCarty points out that leadership-related activities give students the opportunities to meet with school administrators and often members of the community in addition to learning how to speak in public. She says that in her role with the student council, she has seen students go from being very quiet and shy to becoming amazing student leaders. “They learn to speak in front of their peers at assemblies, to parents on the radio, to the administrators, etc. I have seen students plan and organize state events, run for state offices, speak to gatherings of 1,000 or more. They learn to delegate and to pick up the pieces when people don't follow through. They learn to be leaders,” she says.

Benefits of extracurricular activities

Students who are involved in school activities are more likely to stay in school and graduate. Those who participate in extracurricular offerings perform better in math and reading, and more often make plans to go on to college, according to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics. In making application to colleges, having a well-rounded background as demonstrated through clubs and student government can create a stronger application. Most importantly, students have the chance to explore their interests and passions. “There are so many benefits of being involved. THS offers many activities and opportunities for students to find something they are interested in,” says McCarty.

Clubs for every interest

Students can learn about traditional music from Norbert Martinez of Mariachi el Tigre, which emphasizes Hispanic culture and its music. In this popular club, students learn to read music and perform it. Choices that emphasize the outdoors include the Environmental Leadership Club, along with snowboarding and skiing activities.

Last fall, THS drama presented the play “Dracula,” just in time for Halloween. It was directed by drama teacher Adam Overlay. It was the play chosen by the students. Putting on a play helps students learn about history and the technical aspects of production, as well as the acting component. Overly has been a member of the acting community in Taos as part of Teatro Serpiente, playing Shakespeare outdoors and putting on Gorilla Theater, in which the players have just 32 hours to write and mount a whole production.

Under the direction of Benji Apodaca, culinary teams have competed in the New Mexico ProStart cooking competitions. Previous teams have advanced to the national competition level and some of those students are now working as chefs in professional kitchens. In the program, they cook Southwest specialties using local ingredients.

The Taos High Poetry Slam Team has taken first place at the New Mexico State High School Poetry Championship. The team coach is English teacher Frances Hahn. Students have the opportunity to write about topics that matter in their lives and share poems in a variety of community settings.

Students have the opportunity to write about topics that matter in their lives and share poems in a variety of community settings.Students have the opportunity to write about topics that matter in their lives and share poems in a variety of community settings.

For more information, visit THS at or call (575) 751-8030.

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