Research demonstrates a strong alignment between competitive engagement and academic success. In a study of teens published by The MIT Press, "Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out," Mizuko Ito, a cultural anthropologist who is a professor in residence at the Humanities Research Institute at UCI, found the most resilient, adaptive and effective learning involves individual interest as well as social support to overcome adversity and provide recognition. The broader the choice of extracurricular activities, the more likely we are to meet diverse students' needs and interests and get them invested in school and their own learning.

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