The positive impact of after-school activities

High school marching band
High school marching band

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Susquehanna Township Marching Band received quite an honor over the weekend. They were up against dozens at a competition in New Jersey and brought home second place at the USBands National Championships.

Band director Eric Hartranft said he’s so proud of the kids, parents and staff for the hard work they put  in. He said the best part is that the children are learning lifelong skills they can use the rest of their lives.

It’s not just band – all extracurricular activities can help students grow. Hartranft said all extracurricular groups and clubs help students develop lifelong character and skills.

“It gives them a sense of community, a family,” Hartranft said. “They develop skills such as time management, cooperation, how to get along with peers. It really does help with their studies because if their grades drop they aren’t allowed to participate.”

Assistant Principal Andrae Martin agrees.

“Whether it be art club or our Four Diamonds organization which does fundraising for researching cancer, (all extracurricular activities) just give you the opportunity to be part of something positive which ultimately builds your confidence up,” Martin said.

Ari Pelna, a 17-year-old senior at Susquehanna Township, participates in drama club, musical theater, quiz bowl and anime club. But his favorite extracurricular is marching band. He said above all, it’s fun.

“You sit through your boring class and then you get to the end of the day and it’s like, yes, I can go to this (fun activity). Woohoo!” he said.

Even though marching band season has come to a close, teachers say it’s not too late for students to get involved. There are lots of extracurricular activities students can still get involved in such as jazz band, musicals and winter sports. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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