Every year, the high school hosts a club fair during all three lunches where students can walk around, interact, and explore each of the clubs that the school offers. To compensate for this in the world of COVID-19, the school created a virtual club fair this year. During the half-day advisory meeting times, students were sent a google document with information about clubs and how to join.
Clubs are an essential part of many students’ school experiences. The two week delay in school starting this fall did not stop clubs at the high school from meeting. Many clubs have kept their same core values, despite not being able to meet in person.
Girl Up club, which is part of the United Nations, promotes girls standing up for girls. At the high school, the club meets every week to discuss raising money for the Girl Up Foundation.
In past years to raise money, Girl Up has held events like bake sales. Since they cannot be in school and also sell food to students, they are focusing on raising money through websites so they can collect contactless donations online.
“We would [normally] raise money to send to the girl up foundation then they would be able to send the money to girls across the world to help them get a better education and their safety. We are not able to do that this year, but we are going to try to do something, like a GoFundMe page or we will talk as a club to figure out different ways to do that,” said the president of the Girl Up club, Kira Carr ’21.
Before the high school announced they were going fully online until December 1, the Girl Up club had planned to do a few, safe, in-person activities that the club participated in last year.
“Last year, we did an activity where we wrote little inspiring quotes on post-it notes, for example, ‘you’re beautiful,’ or ‘have a great day” on the mirrors on the girl’s bathroom, so we are going to try to do that again this year as it is a COVID-19 friendly activity, and it is so good to spread the positivity,” said Carr.
This year, even though the meetings are online, the club’s attendance has decreased, because many people do not know about it, but with a growing social media presence, leaders hope more people will join.
Students have also been able to create new clubs this year.Girls to Leaders is a new club that was started this year that teaches and empowers girls to become leaders and public speakers.
“We aim to create an accessible environment where high school girls can build their leadership skills and confidence and make a difference in their community. I believe it is a really important club to have at school because if you look at all the class officers or leadership positions at the school, most of them are men,” said the vice president of the club, Audrey Turco ’22.
Due to COVID-19, the leaders have been preparing for everything to be online. The club does not do any activities that require members to have their homes.
Their first meeting was in October and they had almost 20 participants join the zoom meeting.
“The first meeting, we all introduced ourselves and went into breakout rooms, and we did a leadership quiz to see what kind of leader we are. Then, for an activity, we had to talk about ourselves for a minute straight,” said Turco.
The club already has 25 members and is continuing to grow.
Despite the challenges that going online can pose, the transition has had a positive effect on Model UN. The club has been able to move many of their conferences online this year because of COVID-19, as because many of the conferences host schools from all around the world.
Some of the positive changes to the club include lower costs because of fewer travel fees, more conference opportunities, and the club more accessible to students.
“Now it is way easier because we don’t have to physically go somewhere. I think more people are able to go because they can just Zoom in from their house, which is more convenient for the multi-day conferences,” said the co-vice president, Taryn Lane ’22.
As a result, there has been an increase in members joining Model UN this year than in the past.
“I think that if you were ever thinking about Model UN in years past, this is a great year to join, I think it is more accessible to everyone… I would just say I think it is good that even when you do go, understand that this isn’t how it usually is every year, it is usually fun, you get to meet new people, but, I have been really surprised and happy with how the virtual conferences have gone so far, and I think every place we have gone have done a really good job just taking control of the situation,” said Lane.