Co-Curricular Activities

Co-Curricular activities are at the heart of the Upper School experience.

Each year there is a rich abundance of stimulating programs and activities from which students may select, for provocative and important use of their out-of-classroom time. Broadly known as co-curricular activities, these opportunities for involvement are an integral part of school life, offering students additional avenues in which to explore their talents, passions and interests.


Club offerings change from year to year, depending on the interest of the student body. Generally, at the Upper School level, there are 15 to 20 different clubs in any given year. Clubs generally meet during community time and, occasionally, at lunch time, so students can join a number of clubs while still being involved in after-school sports teams. If there is student interest in founding a new activity, it is easy to do so by securing a faculty advisor. The following Upper School Clubs are currently active, or have been active in the last two years:

  • Aquarium Club
  • Architecture
  • ASL
  • Baroque Conversation (historical music and performance)
  • Book Club
  • Calhoun Harmony (choral performances at Sr. Centers)
  • Cheese Tasting
  • Chess Club
  • Crafts
  • Debate Club
  • Designs 4 Good (making/selling crafts for charitable orgs)
  • Film and Screenwriting (making films)
  • Garden Club (Tower Gardens, Green Roof gardening)
  • Improv Club
  • Knitting
  • LP (music appreciation club)
  • Modern Culture
  • Model UN
  • Music Production (open space)
  • Peer Tutors
  • Ping Pong
  • Pride Alliance
  • Programming
  • Quidditch
  • Robotics
  • SAGA: Sexuality and Gender Awareness
  • Short Film Club (screening films)
  • Social Justice Organizers Club
  • Spectrum: LGBTQ newspaper
  • Sports Debate
  • Student Ambassadors (admissions)
  • Student Government
  • Students for Planned Parenthood
  • Students in Action
  • Sustainability Club (community service)
  • The Cougar literary magazine
  • The Issue: US Student Newspaper
  • Video and Strategy Games
  • Yearbook
  • Yoga
  • Young Conservatives
  • Young Democrats
  • Young Investors


Conferences and Organizations

Students are encouraged to get involved in any number of outside educational, social or political organizations, and frequently attend conferences in which they take leadership positions. Calhoun students recently hosted a Sustainability Conference (cosponsored with NYSAIS).

Cross-Divisional Activities

Upper School students engage in a variety of cross-divisional activities that contribute to the strong sense of community that pervades the school. Upper School students meet several times per year with middle school and lower school students in family groups. One of these opportunities includes the all-school Harvest Festival events at Thanksgiving, for which Upper School student can volunteer to be "family" leaders. Many Upper School students volunteer to assist in Lower School and Middle School classes. Upper School students also volunteer to serve as informal one-on-one mentors to students in Middle and Lower school. Joint assemblies or an occasional shared unit of study may also bring together students across divisions.

Domestic and Overseas Travel

Calhoun takes advantage of the wealth of historical, environmental and cultural resources in New York to enrich the curriculum. There are also annual overnight trips, required and elective, that are educational and/or community-oriented in nature:

  • 9th Grade Camping Trip (required): Ninth graders join senior peer leaders on an annual camping trip at the beginning of the school year.
  • Black Rock Forest (required): Whether as a grade or as part of Biology or English studies, students make several trips during their Upper School years to Black Rock Forest, a natural preserve in upstate NY, for ecological field work, biology research and community building.
  • French Exchange (optional): Students in the French world language program are invited to participate in the international exchange program to Bordeaux, France. Each year, Calhoun students host high schoolers from a partner school in Bordeaux, and then travel to Bordeaux and environs in June for a ten-day stay after school ends. [Trip cost is not included in tuition; financial aid is available for those already qualified.]
  • Badlands National Park, SD (optional): Upper Schoolers are invited to apply to attend this yearly trip, where students spend their days working with artists-in-residence, park rangers and a paleontologist while hiking the mountains, exploring, camping, and enjoying the open expanse of the landscape. They also participate in a cultural exchange with Native American youth from two local schools. Read about the Badlands Wilderness Excursion. [Trip cost is not included in tuition; financial aid is available for those already qualified.]
  • Domestic Exchange Program (optional): As a member of the Network of Complementary Schools domestic exchange program, Calhoun Upper Schoolers are invited to apply for a one- or two-week stay at one of the NCS member schools located across the U.S. and in Canada. Calhoun students and faculty have taken advantage of this opportunity to visit schools in Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Juan, Knoxville, a boarding school in Troy, NY, and a Navajo reservation in Arizona. Under the auspices of the Network program, students from Arizona, California, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and Texas have also spent time at Calhoun. [The only cost involved is transportation to and from the destination; financial aid is available for those already qualified.]
  • Ski Trip (optional): The yearly ski trip to Stowe, VT, held in January during school vacation days, is open to juniors and seniors (ninth and tenth graders, space permitting). Supervised by Calhoun faculty. it is an optional, strictly social event! [Trip cost is not included in tuition; financial aid is available for those already qualified.]

Also See:

Athletics, Music, Theater