Molly Gray, Arts & Entertainment Editor
It’s safe to say that close to nothing this year is operating the way it has in the past. Columbia High School (CHS) clubs are no exception. CHS has an impressive list of clubs open to any student to join, but how do you get involved when meetings go virtual? Luckily, leaders of clubs at CHS have adapted to the circumstances of the 2020-2021 school year, and have managed to find ways to keep their clubs connected and functioning. Three significant clubs that have moved to a virtual setting are the Red Cross Club, Guildscript Writing Club and the Mental Health Club.
Almost every CHS club has an Instagram page where its information can be found. Although students may not get the exact same experience as meeting in person, many clubs have done a great job with giving members a way to participate virtually.
The Guildscript Writing Club quickly found a way to start communicating with students through social media. Kate Kampner, ‘22, said, “We started an Instagram account to make it easier for communication. We also sent a message to Columbia Cougar News (CCN) and they made an announcement about it.” Kampner also mentioned how CHS clubs have been helping each other out, stating that the Guildscript Writing Club used their Instagram account and “reached out to other school-related accounts to help spread the word.” However, it has still been difficult to reach out to everyone. When asked about difficulty in recruiting new students to join the club, Kampner noted, “Communicating with the freshmen is harder than the other grades.” This is to be expected, seeing as the annual CHS ‘Club Fair’ did not happen as it usually does at the beginning of the year, meaning the incoming students were somewhat deprived of exposure to the wide array of extracurricular options at CHS. Still, the Guildscript Writing Club is pushing through these challenges and successfully holding meetings virtually for its members.
One club in particular has been facing issues not only because of virtual school, but because it is brand new. The Red Cross club was started this year by juniors Sydney Mannion, Calliope Reeves, Elodie Reeves and sophomore Lily Sharma. Vice President of the club, C. Reeves, talked about the difficulties of starting a club during a virtual learning period. “We had to communicate with supervisors from the school and from the Red Cross through email,” she said, also mentioning that it “took a lot of time to get approval for the club.” Even with a bumpy beginning, the Red Cross club has been running smoothly over the past months. C. Reeves said, “I think we have been successful in engaging our members and incorporating anyone who wants to join into the club.” She also mentioned how using “tools like Google Classroom and Remind have been really helpful in connecting us to our club members.” Finding ways to stay in touch is one thing, but completing some activities that a club’s meeting may regularly consist of has been disrupted since going virtual. C. Reeves explained that it has been difficult, but still, the club is finding new things to do that are more in line with virtual standards. “For instance, we wrote cards for military members for the holidays as part of a Red Cross program.”
Amelia Sherman, ‘21, is one of the leaders of the Mental Health Club at CHS. When asked about how meetings have changed this year, she mentioned that there has been a focus on discussions about “how virtual learning has affected group members’ well being.” Though meetings have been going well, Sherman recognized that “it’s been difficult to have dynamic conversations.” Sherman also commented on the difficulty in creating strong relationships within the club: “I think with [every] grade it has been hard for people to make commitments because we’re not in person.” Similar to Kampner, Sherman mentioned that “it’s much more difficult for freshmen this year to find clubs to be a part of.” Sherman mentioned that even if they aren’t in person, the club has adapted some of their usual meeting activities to the virtual world, and said, “We used to have meetings where we would relieve stress by playing board games, which we’ve replaced with online multiplayer games that allow for large groups of people to play.” The plans for returning to school are continuously changing, but the Mental Health Club is already preparing for when they can meet in person again. “Our plan is to reinforce some of the conversation topics we used to discuss as well as revisiting ways that we used to fundraise, for example bake sales, since we haven’t been able to have these types of activities virtually.“ Although it looks like CHS will be re-opening shortly, it is still unclear as to how or when clubs will be moving away from operating virtually.
Designed by: Sydney Mannion