School clubs amid COVID-19


Photo credit: Michael Hartt

Junior Helena Haney attends an Interact Club officers meeting. Haney said she is glad to be able to meet with the officers, but not being able to have large meetings with the whole Interact Club chapter has been a difficult part of the transition to an online learning environment. “The biggest challenge with not being in person is not being able to have meetings and not being able to do group work together,” Haney said.

By Grace Cueter and Alexa Mazzola

In the midst of virtual learning, North’s clubs are doing everything they can in order to stay active, including Zoom meetings and Covid-19 safe activities. Club leaders have expressed the negative impacts the lack of face-to-face meetings have brought. Poetry club advisor Alyssa Sandoval explains the difficulty of advertising the club to new members, causing a decrease in attendance. 

We definitely tried to promote it at the start of the year but it’s been hard,” Sandoval said. “We used to get kids who would drop by my room after school just to say hi and then wind up staying and listening.”

One positive that Sandoval says online meetings have brought to the poetry club specifically is the ability to share writing much more easily and follow along as a listener.  Despite this, she believes that the pandemic has negatively changed the morale of many students. She says that students and many club members no longer have much of a desire or incentive to go beyond basic requirements, also causing a decrease in the former number of club members. 

“The energy surrounding the pandemic has made it difficult for some people to feel motivated to take on more than their regular school work,” Sandoval said. 

Contrary to Sandoval, sophomore treasurer of the Interact club Helena Haney touches base on how with shorter school days, more people have started to participate and join the Interact club due to more free time than when in school.   

“We have honestly gained more support during this time,” Haney said. “I think students have more time to be able to participate than before, which has helped a lot.”

In spite of pandemic barriers, Interact has had several safe, successful charity events this year, including a collection of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless and letters for veterans. Additionally, they have future plans for an event with the Motor City Mittens Organization. 

Although they have seen an increase in donations and activity, there have still been difficulties. Haney says the main struggle of not currently being a face-to-face club is not being able to collaborate on group projects, especially in Interact.. 

“The biggest challenge with not being in person is not being able to have meetings and not being able to do group work together,” Haney said. “It has been very difficult.”

Along with Haney, Black Student Alliance advisor Brent Maynard has also been able to find positives in virtual meetings due to the efforts of the four club directors: juniors Kai Lloyd and Anaya Winesberry and seniors Imani Crutcher and Kennedy Goodman. 

“I have been tremendously impressed with their organization and initiative in preparing materials for meetings and coming up with topics for discussion,” Maynard said. 

Sandoval has also been very impressed with the poetry club’s leadership, management and organization during this time. The leaders direct the group discussion, then later introduce a prompt for members to write on for 10-15 minutes and share.

“The poetry club meetings are run by three incredible individuals: Gabbi Bielak, Stephanie Westrick and Dani Lubienski,” Sandoval said. 

According to Sandoval, Haney and Maynard, each club at North has found a way to make the best out of our current situation. Whether it be virtual meetings or a food drive, members are accomplishing what they can in any way they can. There are positives, and many negatives, but everyone is eager to return to a face-to-face environment so meetings can run smoothly, and more activities are able to take place. 

“We definitely miss being in the physical environment and enjoying each other’s company,” Sandoval said.

Interact club, along with many others, have been conducting weekly Zoom meetings in order to allow for discussion. “I look forward to just being able to see everyone and have group meetings,“ sophomore Helena Haney said. “It is just very beneficial to be together and see how everything comes out.”