Woodside Clubs: Serving Others and Developing Oneself
Ashe Meanor, Staff Writer
March 18, 2011
Filed under Student Life
We’re at school for eight hours a day, five days a week; we are taught the leadership , communication and active thinking skills needed to succeed. But knowing where to apply these skills is the difficult part. The clubs at Woodside encourage their members to take their classroom knowledge and come up with innovative ways to aid, serve and advance the community.
The members of the Pink Ribbon Club, the Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA), the Robotics Team, and the Math Club are willing to face challenges in order to better the community, whether they be discovering organizations that are finding cures for breast cancer, bringing global acceptance of all forms of sexual identity, creating new technology by building robots, or finding ways for students to have an appreciation for learning.
The second one enters E-9, the room where the Pink Ribbon Club is held, it is clearly visible the members are committed to improving their leadership and communication skills. As Club treasurer, senior LeeAnn Patrick writes the agenda on the whiteboard while the other members gather around the newly arrived pink and black t-shirts and commend each other for putting forth the effort to finish. Patrick explains that the club members’ drive to get these shirts made and sold was “our commitment to support the community.” But why the commitment?
Patrick explains that before she joined the Pink Ribbon Club, “my main conflict was that the women in our community are suffering with … breast cancer, and I felt helpless.” It takes an active community willing to put the effort into aiding the advancement of finding treatments and cures of breast cancer. Having realized for herself that she displays great empathy for those suffering in the community, Patrick voices she “wanted, and wants, to help, but it is not like one person alone can help cure breast cancer.” Patrick claims “that is what is great about the Pink Ribbon Club … [they] want to be the there to support the women in our community that are suffering with breast cancer; whether it is by [holding] a basketball game, walking in relay for life, or selling two different kinds of shirts.” The Pink Ribbon Club serves not only to support the community, but to support the members in the club in their efforts to do something meaningful. It’s a double win situation.
Junior Risa Jensen, a member of the GSA, states that “when I first joined the Gay/Straight Alliance I was not sure if the students would be confused why I joined, because I am straight.” Having stepped out of her daily routine to join the GSA and got a chance get to know the other members, Jensen “realized how silly I was to have been taken by this common misconception of the GSA.”
The misconception that students often hold is that the GSA is only students who are gay. Jensen explains “the GSA is not about having a place for the students that are gay to converse.” It is a club where students that are gay, straight, or bisexual to feel comfortable being who they are in a safe environment.
Jensen chuckles as she explains that “the title of the club really says it all. The Gay/Straight Alliance is a club that has both gay and straight students working together trying to get the community to accept everyone for who they are, to not judge someone based on their sexual preference, but [by] what they contribute to the community.” Having joined the GSA, Jensen has gained an ability to accept and, as the saying goes, to not judge a book (or club) by its cover.
The Pink Ribbon Club and GSA bring a higher global awareness to their members by having them serve the community. But what is even more beneficial to the members is the long term perspective that the clubs bring; that no matter how impossibly challenging something may seem at first glance, starting is the first step to achieving what seems to be an impossible goal.
The focusing, developing, and constructing required to build a robot, can lead to a similar growth. Emma Davenport has been a member of the Robotics Team since her freshmen year. Now a junior, she has been matured by her time within the club. Davenport admits, “I used to goof off any chance I got. So it was difficult for me at first to work on the robots, since they took complete focus.” Despite the difficulty, Davenport stuck with the club and now “after working on many different robots over the years, I have gained the focus that I used to lack. It is amazing what [effect] a little focus can have on one’s school work.” Davenport took hold of the opportunity to do something she believed would be enjoyable, to build a fighting robot and gain both the knowledge of mechanics to build the robot and the focus she once lacked.
Davenport is not the only one concentrating in Room G-6. The sounds of frustrated fists pounding on the tables, the chuckles of inside jokes, and the chatter about recently completed robots echo in every corner of the classroom. Every member in the Robotics Team is focused on the bits of metal and wire in front of them. Working together they are able to assemble the metal into a robot, ready for battle.
As the Robotics Team assembles their robots, in room F-25 the members of the Math Club spend their lunches solving differential equations. Students devote time to solving every problem placed on the Smart Board by the club president, Max Siegel. Such devotion to Math Club was not immediate for some students like sophomore Hanna Campbell.
Campbell had joined in order to receive the extra credit offered, at first believing that the other students were also going to Math Club to benefit their grades. So she “was confused why the students doing well in Math were wasting their lunch going to do math.” After going to several Math Club meetings, Campbell realized why the other students were so devoted to spending their cherished lunches doing math problems. The members of the Math Club “turn math into a game show; we played jeopardy, and had math races. Math is no longer a chore for me; I actually voluntarily go to the Math Club.”
The Pink Ribbon Club, GSA, Robotics, and Math club are just a few of the many different clubs at Woodside waiting for students to further the clubs’ success by joining. These clubs offer students opportunities to apply the knowledge that is learned within their classrooms to aid the success of the community. Not many opportunities to achieve greatness come easily within reach, as they do in high school, where success is among us, the students.
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