TuHS athletic pay-to-play policy says hello to goodbye

Simon Phipps, Staff Writer

Athletes will no longer be charged for extra curricular activities this 2021-22 school year and likely for school years to come. 

For many years, students have been required to pay a fee of $225 to participate in school sports and extracurricular activities, and the only way to get past this fee was through qualifying for a scholarship. Tualatin High School alum Raymond Arias expressed how this affected him and likely those who were in a similar scenario.

“The only way I was ever able to attend events such as camps or even be a part of a club or organization was through scholarships and fee waivers as a low-income student,” Arias said. “Even then, it was still challenging at times for me to email and ask activity advisors for a fee waiver to be a part of their group …. It made me question my ability to contribute…. It felt quite isolating and embarrassing.” 

Getting rid of this policy was no easy feat. It took three long years of determination, persistence, coordination and patience. There was much opposition to the policy, questioning its compatibility with a realistic budget, not to mention the pandemic that has put most families a few steps back financially. Those steps back, however, can help us gain a refreshed perspective. 

Arias played a major role in the removal of the pay-to-play policy, and there was more to it than a few simple obstacles.

“We witnessed an even larger excess of peers getting left behind because of the dire economic situation,” he said. “It caused us to realize how crucial and fundamental the adoption of a no pay-to-play policy could be to rebuilding the Tigard-Tualatin community back stronger than before COVID-19 struck.” 

In past years, many students have missed out on wonderful possibilities and doors that athletics can open. The sports programs – especially here at Tualatin – are filled with superb social opportunities and bonds that can last a lifetime. Arias mentioned the benefits that those pushing for the removal, including himself, had in mind.

“[It can bring] improved academic performance, greater social interaction, pursuing areas of interests and higher graduation rates… I just want to see a more engaged and collaborative environment across the school district,” he said.

Members of the community have expressed a much-deserved thank you to those who helped remove the pay-to-play policy, as we have seen an increase in students pursuing new opportunities through extracurricular participation.

This year is expected to be unlike any other. With new athletes rolling in and stronger bonds being formed, all students are highly encouraged to be involved in extracurricular activities throughout the school and in the community as a whole.