By: Samantha Ebner (11th Grade)
The big question on everyone’s mind: what’s up with all the clubs?
This year, Hebrew Academy High School extracurricular life is thriving due to the introduction of a variety of new clubs, as well as the reintroduction of previously discontinued clubs. These new clubs, the Environment, Glee, Save a Child’s Heart, and Science clubs, and the newly reopened clubs, Debate, Pre-Med, and WISE (Women Inspiring Strength and Empowerment) are the reason more students are participating in clubs than ever before.
In the past, the only programs that met regularly with many attendees were the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), Warrior Word, and WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organization) clubs. Overall, the clubs this year allow for students to pursue a wider variety of interests and potentially explore new ones. The Environment Club and Glee Club specifically have sparked great interest.
The Environment Club, founded by Daniel Ohana (10th grade), is quite different from both old and new clubs. Ohana began the club with the desire to raise awareness about issues facing the environment. Each week, he informs members about issues regarding the environment including climate change, animal extinction, plastic usage, and deforestation, along with ways for students to help, like reaching out to congressmen. Ohana’s goal for the club is to create a sense of urgency about the Earth’s situation.
“The goal of my club is to inform people on the real issues that the planet is facing. A lot of people don’t realize the problems that are happening. The ones that are informed often think that they can’t do anything about it anyway. My goal is to get people educated and make sure that the information they learn is used for something and not wasted,” said Ohana.
The Glee Club, founded by Michelle Behar (11th) and Jaclyn Nussenblatt (11th), was created for the sole purpose of giving students a way to express themselves and to bring those who are passionate about singing together. The all-girls club is structured so that members can sing together and practice songs. The club hopes to even participate in show choir competitions in the future.
“Me and Jaclyn started the Glee Club because we wanted to create an outlet for kids to sing and dance together and have fun,” said Behar. “Not only that, but we saw that there weren’t so many artistic clubs, so we wanted to introduce something different and new.”
Many have praised the newfound student initiative.
“I think it’s terrific,” Assistant Principal Dr. Dara Lieber said. “I think what it’s really showing is that our kids are taking a step in the right direction. They’re really helping themselves. I think for the first time in a long time, the kids are taking a lot of initiatives and making things that they want, and they’re understanding that that’s only going to happen by doing it themselves with some help from us, and they’re doing just that.”
With the multitude of clubs, the initial meeting days conflicted with each other posing a problem for many students who wanted to take part in multiple programs. To resolve this issue, many of the new club leaders recently met to work out the issue and agreed to meet alternating weeks. Student Council President Raquel Zohar (12th) said the problem of too many clubs and not enough meeting times is a “happy problem.”
“There has been a drastic shift in attitude with regards to student-run clubs. So many of the sophomores and juniors have taken initiative and started clubs in areas important to them and many other students,” Zohar said. “They’re creating forums to discuss issues that they care about, in clubs like the environment and science clubs who have raised awareness about climate change and started a recycling initiative in school, or even bettering pre-existing clubs. WISE has grown immensely during the course of only a few weeks due to new, younger leadership. It’s impressive and really nice to know that extracurricular life is going to thrive.”