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Clubs: Who Is Responsible For Making Them Succeed?

Photo courtesy of Kelly Cuneo

Clubs are important in every high school all over the U.S., and participating in clubs gives students the opportunity to reach out to the community to find their own values. But how can students at ACAD have the opportunity to really participate in clubs? At the beginning of this school year, I was a freshman who had great passion about high school, but didn’t know where to put it. I signed up for 10 clubs that I thought would be fun. However, I didn’t get any emails from any clubs. I couldn’t even find more information about the clubs I signed up for. To figure out my questions, in addition to many others, I talked to both Mr. Olson and Dr. Rogers to get advice and learn about the function of the clubs.

I learned that the responsibility for making the clubs work is on student club leaders who clearly should do a better job of making their clubs useful and accessible. Leaders need to have a clear goal for their clubs and a plan for projects and activities. This information needs to be accessible for students on the school website, which is not only for the description of the clubs; student leaders can post the projects and plans that they have for the year. If you click on the Service & Leadership program, under the club opportunities, there is a list of clubs, but little or no information about most of them. This is a disservice to students.

One of the reasons clubs don’t engage enough is that club leaders aren’t realistic about their goals or don’t have the passion to follow through. Club leaders are welcome to work with the faculty sponsors and talk to Mr. Olson in order to make a feasible plan for the year. Clubs that are more active and consistent tend to have a connection with an outside organization to help them stay on track. These are some things to consider if you are a club leader. If student leaders choose to accept my suggestions, students will be able to read the introduction and project plan of each club to figure out the most interesting one or few to stick with.

Students like me, who don’t have any experience in clubs but are interested in participating, need to choose wisely. According to a suggestion from both Dr. Rogers and Mr. Olson, students need to find something that they really care about and plan to devote their time. Committing time helps students to find their interests and prepare them for their potential careers; students who dedicate themselves to few clubs will be able to understand the value of their experience and express that to college admissions.

One student leader can’t support the whole club; club members also need to contribute to the clubs. People who have the same interest who gather together can accomplish large projects and learn more things. Both club leaders and club members play an important role in terms of advancing their clubs. Everybody in the clubs needs to step up to make clubs meaningful to students.

"Start freshman year and keep track, not just of your activities, but of what you learned and what it meant to you. That will make it a lot easier to talk and write about them when it comes to applying to college."

Dr. Rogers, college counselor

While students have great responsibility, the school also needs to put effort into supporting our clubs. The school should provide the chance for student leaders to present their clubs during assemblies and make the information about the clubs available for students. The school should make a calendar (like Google Calendar) so students can see whether a club meets every week or if they can join in multiple clubs; that would help them organize their schedule ahead of time. The school has some plans to improve the administration of clubs; one of them is scheduling the Club Draft Day during Spring instead of Fall, which would give club leaders more time to prepare for the coming year and might help students to establish realistic goals about how much they can commit to.

After I talked to both Dr. Rogers and Mr. Olson, I had a better understanding of the function of clubs, so I wrote this editorial to give some advice to everyone who already participates or wants to participate in clubs. I hope you will take this into account!