Club attendance soars past COVID-19


Jasmin Desruisseau

Carys Horton, Eliza Austen, and Chloe Gehm (left to right) discuss potential fundraising ideas with fellow members of the Save the Children club in room 106.

AWHS clubs are back and quickly recovering from a lack of members during COVID-19. During virtual school, AWHS club members met through online platforms outside of the required time spent on virtual classes. Now that students are back on campus, club attendance is soaring.

Despite the extensive screen time during COVID-19, many club leaders, like junior Jack Long of the Maps and Flags club, persevered.

“Club meetings were boring and downright depressing online… we could only get about ten people to show up,” Jack said. 

When AWHS reopened in spring 2020, Jack started in-person lunchtime meetings, quickly attracting 30 regular members. Currently, the club has 105 registered members, all gained within the past year.

“It’s exhilarating and deeply rewarding to see our member sheets fill up so quickly and to see so many excited new members,” Jack said.

According to Jack, clubs provide an important social aspect at AWHS and substantially assist in forging friendships with people who have similar interests.

“It went from a boring and academic club, to a fun place to be,” Jack said. “People are clapping, cheering, and happy to be there. It’s like the room is alive.” 

The range of new clubs and members surprised many current sophomores, who had only experienced the low COVID-19 club turnout. 

AWHS Feminist Club members gathered at the club’s monthly community picnic, led by Audrey Reeb. (Jasmin Desruisseau)

“I was really surprised by the turnout. After the tiny clubs from last year I really didn’t think our school was big on clubs,” said AWHS sophomore Revel Roxberry.

With online platforms, clubs longed for in-person socialization and struggled to collaborate without it. AWHS’s new chapter of “Save the Children” resorted to working and fundraising individually, along with a few Zoom meetings led by the chapter’s founder, senior Amira Wachelka.

“We’ve had one meeting so far this year and it’s been a lot easier to work collaboratively in person,” Amira said.

Save the Children, which began at the start of last semester, has amassed 20 members since starting in person. The chapter is part of the global Save the Children organization, which works to ensure that children have healthcare, food, shelter, education, and protection services. Although the club faced challenges due to virtual schooling, it managed to raise $5,595 for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where the country faces widespread hunger and disease.

“We will have more opportunities to hold more fundraising events by having in person meetings, and being more efficient in general,” Amira said.

AWHS’s Feminist Club, created this year by junior Audrey Reeb, already has nearly 70 members. However, this popular club likely would not have started if clubs were still online, as Audrey believes that the extra amount of required screen time would have driven potential club members away.

“During online school, I was looking at a screen all day, and starting a club on zoom would have just added to my screen time. I feel more inspired to be involved in extracurricular activities now that we are in person because it’s more enjoyable for my mental and physical health,” Audrey said. 

In the Feminist Club, members connect with each other while brainstorming ideas to improve gender equality and inclusivity at AWHS. According to Audrey, the club’s main focus is to create a safe space for girls to freely discuss their experiences with feminism.

“I’m excited that so many people showed up, it shows that we really needed a feminist club at our school,” Audrey said. 

Clubs are back to thriving in-person and bonding students through similar interests, and club leaders are thrilled to continue expanding their clubs with the recovered opportunities that in-person school offers.