“I’ve seen involvement in activities make a difference. For some kids, it’s a reason to come to school. School may be hard for them, but whether it’s Anime Club, Key Club, AFJROTC, football - whatever - it’s a reason for them to work hard in school.”

Joe Kutlas, GISH Activities Director

Importance, impact of involvement realized at GISH

On an October Friday night at Memorial Stadium, it is apparent Grand Island Senior High has an active student body.

As the Class A varsity football team heads to the locker room at half time, more than 200 students in the marching band and flag corps take the field. After their performance, dozens of cheerleaders run to the sideline to watch the members of the Islandaire dance team perform. Moments later, the public address announcer reads off results from the cross country, girls golf and boys tennis events earlier in the day, and invites the crowd to see the volleyball and softball team in action on Saturday.

GISH has hundreds of kids involved in athletics and hundreds more in fine arts, all of which are quite visible to those outside the school who come to the stadium on Friday nights or attend the school musical.

What may not be seen as frequently are the hundreds of students in other clubs and organizations at the high school. With around 2,400 students, activities director Joe Kutlas is surrounded by these groups daily.

“We have a wide array of kids,” Kutlas said. “Because of our size, we’ve got lots of kids interested in any one thing. They can find a home with other kids.”

It’s easy, he said, for GISH students to find other kids who share common interests, hobbies or talents, and make a connection. That connection is the key.

“There is plenty of data that shows students involved in activities do better in school,” Kutlas said. “They are more connected to the building; they believe it is there for them. Because of activities, they make a connection they otherwise may not have made.”

Kutlas is a believer in activities, which you would expect from the activities director, but he said it isn’t hard to understand when you see it in action.

“I’ve seen involvement in activities make a difference,” he said. “For some kids, it’s a reason to come to school. School may be hard for them, but whether it’s Anime Club, Key Club, AFJROTC, football - whatever - it’s a reason for them to work hard in school.”

The skills associated with involvement in activities shine as well.

“Many students have learned how to schedule their time, get along with others, handle adversity, be a leader,” Kutlas said. “All good skills for life. These activities help them be better people.”

Kutlas cites old ACT research he said he’s quoted for years, which says the number one predictor of success in life is involvement in high school activities.

“It gives them a connection, a reason for all the work of high school,” he said. “And it’s fun. Kids seem to like school more when they have something they truly enjoy and look forward to being a part of.”

Opportunities for Senior High students to be involved

The following list is ever changing. If it doesn't include an activity GISH offers for students, let us know. We'll get it added.


Fall sports

  • Cross Country (boys and girls) (varsity, JV)
  • Football (varsity, JV, reserve, frosh)
  • Golf (girls) (varsity, JV)
  • Softball (varsity, JV, reserve)
  • Tennis (boys) (varsity, JV)
  • Volleyball (varsity, JV, reserve, frosh)

Winter sports

  • Basketball (boys and girls) (varsity, JV, reserve, frosh)
  • Bowling (unified)
  • Swimming (boys and girls)
  • Wrestling (varsity, JV)

Spring sports

  • Baseball (varsity, JV, reserve)
  • Golf (boys) (varsity, JV)
  • Soccer (boys and girls) (varsity, JV)
  • Tennis (girls) (varsity, JV)
  • Track & Field (boys and girls) (varsity, JV, frosh)


Vocal music

  • Madrigals
  • Ultimate Image - varsity show choir
  • Future Image - junior varsity show choir
  • Sweet Rev - women's show choir
  • Chamber Choir
  • Singers - non-auditioned mixed choir)
  • Women's Choir - non-auditioned choir)

Instrumental music

  • Marching band
  • Concert band
  • Symphonic band
  • Jazz band (I & II)
  • Philharmonic Orchestra - non-auditioned orchestra
  • Camerata Orchestra - auditioned orchestra
  • Show band (UI, FI, SR)

Theater productions

  • Fall musical
  • Competition one-act play
  • "A Christmas Carol" annual holiday production
  • Winter play
  • Spring play/musical
  • Student-directed one-act plays

Visual arts

  • Studio 9 Gallery for student work
  • Hall County Student Art Show (spring)


  • GISH Cheerleaders
  • Islandaire Dance Team


  • Air Force JROTC
  • Anime Club
  • Art Club
  • Athletic training
  • Class officers
  • Coding Club
  • Coloring Club
  • FBLA
  • Fishing Club
  • Guitar Club
  • HOSA
  • “Islander” newspaper staff
  • Key Club
  • Mock trial team
  • Multicultural Club
  • National Honor Society
  • “Purple & Gold” yearbook staff
  • Robotics team
  • Roots & Shoots
  • SADD
  • Speech team
  • Student Council
  • SkillsUSA
  • Trap team
  • Video Gaming Club