Clubs answer, ‘We have no idea!’


Photo by Evelyn Urbaniak

(Bottom L to R) Sophomores Bridget Martin and Mary Seafield, and (Top L to R) freshmen Anna Vernoski and Kyli Ziebka meeting for campus ministry.

As a college preparatory academy, our school is rooted in extra-curricular participation, especially when these activities can inspire a student towards their future success. While athletics are obviously a major factor of this out-reaching goal, it is the specialty clubs and groups within the Saint Viator community that ultimately drive this ideal forward. The school offers an abundance of after school excitement to the student body, from drama, film, and animators clubs to STEM, Campus Ministry, and Respect Life agendas. However, any student will never receive proper access to these wonderful opportunities if they are not legitimately informed of each and every one of them—and of course how they apply to each and every person differently. With the lack of club fairs and activity periods due to pandemic schedule revisions, the anticipated participation of our underclassmen in these activities has been greatly undermined.

“I didn’t know how to join, where the club took place, or even what clubs there were,” says freshman Caroline Schermerhorn. It can be seen that freshman this school year have been shying away from joining Saint Viator’s various flex time clubs. From many different options to choose from, freshmen shouldn’t have to think twice about participating in them. However, some freshmen have voiced why they aren’t in any.

“I don’t even know what clubs are going on, I didn’t see very many of them on the flex-time schedule,” said one freshman. “I also rarely know any information about them and how to sign up.”

“I don’t know the school yet, and am unfamiliar with where to go,” said another confused freshman. “I’m also still getting used to high school and don’t know if any of my friends are interested in the club too. I’m somewhat nervous about joining the club by myself, since I don’t know a lot of people yet.”

Clubs are an important part of high school, especially freshman year, because clubs are a place where you can socially interact with other freshmen who have the same interests. Freshmen are more motivated to join a club when there is more engagement from people they know.

“Probably like having more of my friends in a club and also like doing fun games and activities,” said freshman Anna Vernoski explains why she would feel inclined to join a club.

The change in the model of the club schedule is one of the main factors as to why many underclassmen are not joining clubs. When there was an activity period during the day for students to attend different club meetings, freshmen were more apt to attend for many reasons, one of which was to avoid sitting in homeroom for an extended amount of time. Now, with the addition of flex time, freshmen and sophomores do not see the use of joining clubs.

“Many freshman boys aren’t going to try out a club after school on their own,” said Mrs. Anne Marie Lowery.

Clubs are revolutionary to a freshman’s perspective on the rest of their high school and college career, so this class-wide catastrophe of participation is only hurting the chances of these developing adults in looking for rewarding higher education and social elevation. As well as wanting more friends or acquaintances in clubs, many freshmen may not know how much they have to contribute to clubs or how time consuming they are. When introduced to high school, freshmen undergo a lot of changes in schedule, sports, and homework, which can be very time consuming and confusing, so clubs are the last thing on their minds.

“I am focusing on sports outside and inside of school as well as my academics,” said Vernoski.

To increase involvement in different clubs, a club fair may be planned to display the different types of clubs and give a preview to students, especially underclassmen, of what they are all about. This fair was delayed due to the new demographic and organization of clubs, but it will most likely happen in the spring semester. While there may not be substantial amounts of information on the types of clubs now, people should reach out to their friends and encourage them to join.

“We need to work on our upperclassmen inviting them [underclassmen] into our meetings and making them feel included,” said Mrs. Lowery.

With the aftermath of COVID-19 and all of its disastrous ruins finally giving the community some freedom, it is very likely that participation will once again start to increase along with club exposure being more readily available in a close-contact environment. Though this may not be an abrupt change, it can be directed at a steadier pace by the openness of older students willing to offer insight to the younger grades who are not being uninvolved, but relatively uninformed.

“For me, joining clubs freshman year was very easy since many of my friends were up to do it with me, I also got to meet a lot more people once I joined a club,” said sophomore Sophia Stuber, one of the Debate Club’s leaders. “Now sophomore year, I’m having a great time doing it again and I even had the opportunity to talk to Mrs. Lowery and started Debate Club with my wonderful partners. We have a good group of people and about a third of them are freshmen which is great! We would love for more of them to join and any one else that is interested.” So freshmen: take a risk and try a club, you never know who you’ll meet or how it will turn out. Being open to trying new things is always fun, and is definitely worth it.

—Additional reporting by Madeline