By Izhaan Ahmed and Asmita Saha
As the school year progresses, extracurricular opportunities are reopening. In a strenuous year, students are joining many of these activities to continue to fulfill their genuine interests with like-minded people. In most cases, extracurriculars have started with virtual meetings, and at the same time, face changes and challenges caused by the pandemic.
“The general [club] process has not changed this year. It was only delayed a few months,” said principal Dr. Faccio.
This delay has impacted the ability of clubs to plan events and fundraisers. All of the events and activities usually held early in the year were not possible. For example, the Key Club has not been able to do several ordinarily planned events for Pink October, UNICEF money collection, faculty denim days, and charity donations.
“...we are still learning to adapt to the circumstances that we are under...”
Students are having a more difficult time joining clubs and extracurricular activities as typical meetings have been replaced with Remind, Google Classroom, and even Instagram. For many, remotely joining a club does not feel the same.
“It would be different. I’m full remote, so I don’t think it would be the same as in-person, rather than if things were normal,” said eighth-grader Alyssa Sehn.
Model United Nations is being conducted remotely, and significant opportunities such as the Rutgers conference have been canceled. Nonetheless, other conferences are scheduled for the coming year, sustaining the prestige of the organization. Furthermore, the program is conducting workshops to compensate for the remote setting.
“These [workshops] are open to the class and the club to help develop the skills necessary to be a great delegate at future conferences,” said sophomore Ishita Bansal.
Sources from Anna Detke and Olivia Wong
NHP MUN has used their Instagram as a platform to spread information about upcoming workshops, deadlines, and conferences to keep the large club connected; Science Olympiads announces their first meeting on Instagram; the Muslim Student Association uses colorful graphics to share the Google Meet code.
Clubs with competitions have their quirks. Senior High Mathletes are preparing for fully virtual competitions. Likewise, the Chess Club is holding their tournaments through virtual chess, and the District Robotics team anticipates virtual events later on in the year. In addition, Science Olympiads will take place in a virtual competition with local high schools.
Service-based clubs are staying remote as well. Best Buddies has historically been hands-on with its activities to bring buddies together, but the creation of friendships is not hindered by the pandemic, since events revolving around arts-and-crafts are still happening. Goodie bags and Christmas cards will be made and exchanged in lieu of the usual potluck and Christmas caroling.
“We are very active on social media and Google Classroom with updates on meetings. COVID-19 isn’t stopping friendships from forming and activities from happening,” said senior Nicolette Caneda.
The National Art Honor Society has remained practically unchanged despite virtual meetings. Videos, contests, virtual museum visits, and portfolio exhibits along with poster contests, daily drawing, and photography challenges have been on the club’s agenda. The NAHS social media presence has, if anything, increased with their Instagram account and the popular hashtag “#artmattersnhp.” Much like Model UN, NAHS is planning on hosting virtual workshops for its members. The club is also working on starting an art-related fundraiser to help communities.
Sources by Olivia Wong
The Seekers Club plays an icebreaker on Zoom for its first meeting; the National Art Honor Society is using Google Meet to host club meetings and communicate with members.
The Seekers Club has focused its efforts on growing the club. Their biweekly meetings include Bible recitations and games of Among Us.
“We have biweekly meetings with everyone where we play games like Among Us and have worship just as if we were in school. So far, it has been a success and we are still learning to adapt to the circumstances that we are under,” said senior Benjamin Mammen, president of the Seekers Club.
Recruiting younger students was a struggle for the Seekers Club, the Muslim Student Association, and the Hindu Student Association but it was possible via Remind, Zoom, FaceTime, and Instagram.
Despite the late start of most extracurriculars, clubs are given time during the morning announcements to spread awareness of activities, and these crucial opportunities have provided new avenues toward success in the hands of virtual learning.