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  • Ingrid Nilsson

A Review of Club Draft

Every September, Athens Academy students gather in clusters around Lampkin Patio to sign up for clubs. Normally, the event consists of hordes flocking to the club tables with the most delicious sweets, ranging from donuts to candy to homemade brownies.

This year, however, things were different. Due to complications with COVID-19, large, crowded gatherings are unsafe for faculty and students alike. Instead of the usual close-knit tables spaced around Lampkin, sign-up tables were divided spaciously between the two levels of Science and Arts. On the top floor, Debate Club, Drama Club, Finance and Investment Club, French Club, Literary Team, Math Club, Model U.N., Spanish Club, and Acad Lymphoma and Leukemia Society presented their tables, while C.A.R.E. Club, Interact, Spartan Review/Literary Review, Boys and Girls Club, Girls Club, Science Olympiad, Mock Trial, and Environmental Club stayed on the ground level.

Although Club Draft was less congested this year, many club leaders preferred it to years previous.

“While we had fewer people sign up this year than normal, I believe that we had as many people that have actual interest as previous years,” said Steven Holder, co-president of the Spanish Club.

This sentiment was echoed by C.A.R.E. Club Leader Alexis Keeney. “I think overall we had fewer sign-ups, but more people who signed up are actually committed to doing something in C.A.R.E.,” Keeney said. “A lot of students would sign up just to get food, but now that there's not a required time on campus, we have sifted out those people.”

Danielle Norris and Kasey Ehrenreich running the Acad LLS Table. Photo by Eliza Connolly.

Many club leaders sent out Google Forms for anyone interested who could not attend. Brennan Smith, co-president of French Club, mentioned that this format was particularly helpful for online learners.

“Personally, I liked that the students had a chance to walk around and had the choice to fill out registration forms online if they weren’t able to make it to the table or if they were at home,” Smith said.

Margalit Mauricio signs up for Environmental Club. Photo by Eliza Connolly.

Kitty Fan, a leader of Math Club, was also an at-home-learner at the time, but she was able to promote math club to at-home students via Zoom nonetheless.

Not only are students and faculty members finding creative ways to accommodate Club Draft in these unprecedented times, but club leaders are also innovating to meet club goals. Mock Trial, Math Club, and Model United Nations are all anticipating the modification of their competitions and events.

“The competition that we usually prepare for will not be held in person this year but over Zoom, which is definitely different than in years past. But we will roll with the punches as they come and do our best to accommodate to this new practice/performance method,” said Jessica Ford, leader of the Mock Trial team.

Model U.N. is also adapting this year. “A lot is still up in the air. We normally work towards and attend the UGA Model U.N. conference, however, they have not released a plan yet,” said leader Elizabeth Marx. “Whatever happens, I’m sure it will be a good year.”

Service Clubs are also finding ways to thrive under such unusual circumstances. Although some events have been cancelled, volunteers are finding ways to hold events safely, whether through social distancing or virtual offerings.

“While a solid schedule for Boys and Girls Club has not come out, there is a plan in place,” said McKenzie Elrod, leader of the Boys and Girls Club. “Because Clarke County schools are fully virtual, kids are not allowed to meet in person. Volunteers from Athens Academy will be holding Zoom calls on Wednesday afternoons for kids to log on and play fun virtual games such as Kahoot and Pictionary so the kids can hangout, relax, and have fun with their friends after school.”

C.A.R.E. Club, Interact Club, Downtown Academy and other service clubs are finding similar ways to handle the coronavirus.

Photo of Debate Club table by Eliza Connolly.

Even through this unparalleled age, Athens Academy students continue to create new paths for themselves and others. While much of the future is still unknown, we forge ahead.