Each year at RHS, new club stands sprout up during the annual Club Fair. The Activities and Clubs list contains over 200 unique clubs and is continuously growing. Here is some information about a few of the new student-created clubs with words from the founders themselves.
I spoke first with Catherine Tepper, a leader of the new “Podcast Club,” and she told me about how she and her peers got started. “The process of starting the club came from an activity we all did in our business management class where we made podcasts,” Tepper began. “In the class, we were making business oriented podcasts, but we thought it would be fun if there was a platform at school to create podcasts about anything we wanted.” Students meet either during school in conference rooms or at home and give members creative freedom to talk about whatever appropriate topics they would like. There are typically categories such as sports, entertainment or fashion that an episode will focus on however. Leila Elashmawy, another founder, adds, “We try to be relatable and funny so that RHS looks forward to tuning into our podcasts. The crew plans to release the content on SoundCloud, so be sure to check it out!”
Another club new to RHS is “Save the Waves,” which solely focuses on raising money to donate to the “Surf Rider Foundation” located in Spring Lake, NJ. Ava Jacoby, one of the three leaders, said at the first meeting, “My dad and I have been volunteering for Surf Rider in Sea Bright, NJ for about three years now, and that’s how I got the idea to bring it to Ridgewood.” Ava aims to raise awareness about the significance of preserving oceans and beaches in this declining environment and teach students how they can help. In addition, they will raise money with bake sales using natural packaging.
“Operation Smile” has been around since 1982. It is a worldwide organization that raises money to provide life-changing surgeries for children born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. Many RHS students were unaware of this cause until juniors Kate Davis and Laura Gessmann brought the “Operation Smile Club” to school. I spoke to Davis, who came up with the idea for the club idea at a leadership conference that she attended over the summer. “It inspired me to show RHS student’s how we can all make a difference,” she said. There are currently 100 people signed up for “Operation Smile”, a staggering amount for a newly established club. Through this organization, Davis and Gessmann hope to make small, but impactful, changes to their community.
It is interesting to see how new students take over leadership positions in clubs run by students that are now RHS alumni. Sometimes the entire crew leading a club are from the same graduating class, leaving a clean slate for current student’s to implement their ideas and take over. An example of this was the long running “Astronomy Club.” “Ms. Shah was a few days away from shutting the entire club down,” Madison Orr, junior, informed us. “Last year the club met only two or three times. We wanted to change that and bring the club back to life.” This school year, Madison and her fellow leaders Tess Cundiff and Kylie Liggett, plan to hold meetings twice a month, take a field trip to the Hayden Planetarium in New York, and have a mash-up meeting with the “Astrology Club.” With the content and style getting revamped for the new school year, the only thing that remains the same about Astronomy Club is its name.
So whether you are a part of a club or want to take over one yourself, it’s incredible to see your fellow classmates improve the community around them and take initiative to start something they are passionate about.
Graphic: Tess Cundiff