Clubs Aim to Keep Student Body Connected

This year's high school club fair has gone virtual. Students can see what's available and sign up at the website linked in the article.

The annual high school club fair has gone virtual this year. Students can now see what’s available and sign up for clubs at the club fair website. (The site is only accessible to students logged into their school email accounts on their browser.)

Most students are probably wondering what clubs are still running, how are they managing not being able to meet in person, and how these clubs are going to meet for activities given social distancing rules and online school. Clubs at HBA provide students with opportunities to actively be involved in the community outside of the classroom and meet students from different grades. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed how clubs will host meetings while still accomplishing their goals.

The advisers and student leaders of clubs continuing to run during the 2020-2021 school year have been forced to get creative with their activities. The biggest challenge that clubs need to overcome is not being able to meet in-person as a group. Senior Landon Wong, Interact Club president, says that the currently has three main goals: encouraging members to grow as people, serving the HBA and Oahu community as best as they can while staying safe, and keeping its members connected through “Interactivities”, where students can share their passions with other students. Throughout the year, Wong hopes the officers will encourage students to keep these goals in mind while serving the Oahu community, whether that be online or in-person. 

On the other hand, the National Honors Society (NHS), is focused on working more directly within the HBA community. When students come back to campus,club members will wipe down desks and door handles during the passing period to keep the environment as sanitized as possible. Junior Sarah Kawakami-Williams, club president, said, “We are really trying to emphasize having a resilient community [and] really want to encourage flexibility [while]working with what we have despite the physical limitations we are faced with.” Some NHS committees work with outside organizations like the Special Olympics, so the co-chairs of those committees are still trying to figure out ways to volunteer. As for the annual Math Challenge, where HBA invites other middle schools to participate in a friendly math competition, the NHS officers hope to move this event online so students will still be able to connect with each other. Lynne Nakano, NHS adviser, encourages club members “to work hard to think about that bigger legacy…[than] focus on what [they] lost.”

Because students have been away from the campus for almost seven months, some clubs, like the Environmental Club, have had to put their on-campus projects on hold. “We have three committees: Gardening, Food and Waste, and Outreach, and unfortunately all of those committees include being present in some way, which currently isn’t an option,” said senior Grace Toyama, president of the Environmental Club. Some on-campus projects, like the worm bins, completely stopped because students were not in school to provide food scraps for the worms. As of now, Toyama is currently working with other officers and committees to see if they can find time to restore these on-campus projects as in-person school resumes 

Unfortunately, some clubs will not be running this year due to safety restrictions. The main mission of the Shakespeare Club is to host parties where students can enjoy food and bond over literature. Since eating in close proximity to each other is no longer allowed, the club will not be able to meet. Also, the concurrent schedule means there isn’t a time when all club members are in school at the same time. “I’ll miss the games, fun, and fellowship with my nerdy Shakespearo-philes. The students in this club are always so much fun, and it is encouraging to see young people develop a love of literature,” said club adviser Dawson Vorderbruegge. 

Because no one has stepped up to fill the vacant president position, the Japanese Club will also not be running this year. Even though there will be no official meetings, Shimizu Sensei, the Japanese Club adviser, also mentioned the possibility of sharing the Japanese culture through sending articles and traditional recipes over email. He said, I miss the monthly meetings. We share[d] yummy Japanese food with the members.” Shimizu also hopes to still check in and keep in contact with the club members.

The pandemic has not stopped some students from starting new clubs this year. Junior Reese Yoshikawa is starting the Politics Club this year with help from advisers from the Social Studies department. Through the club, Yoshikawa hopes students will inform others about topics they are passionate about and discuss current issues. Yoshikawa became inspired to start this club because she’s noticed that many young people don’t have opportunities to learn about politics. Also, she thinks it’s important for students to learn how to have discussions about controversial topics. She plans on hosting virtual meetings with guest speaks, such as teachers, who can inform students more about certain subject matters. “We’re not here to put each other down or debate or argue; we’re just here to learn…in an environment where it’s safer,” Yoshikawa said. 

Another new club that is starting up is Ho’omana 2.0, led by freshmen Taylor Malinger and Hannah Cheng, and advised by Bible teacher Erin Schlittenhart. Similar to Ho’omana in the Elementary School, club members will learn and sign to different Christian songs. “It offers a way for students to express [themselves] through a different type of worship,” Cheng said. Malinger added, “We can also minister to others through it.” Although they are unable to perform live, Malinger and Cheng plan to create worship videos to encourage others, share their videos to use in chapels, and partner with the middle school sign language worship club too.

Students looking to unlock their inner artists may want to consider joining the reinvented Art Club. While it isn’t exactly new to the HBA community, it is being revived this year by junior Kaylee Ann Tani. “I think making art and doing crafts can be rejuvenating and enjoyable especially at a time like this,” said Juri Yamashita, the club adviser. Because students are home all day, they may be bored and not want to do homework. Yamashita believes that the Art Club allows students an opportunity to bring out their creative side with the endless amount of creative DIY projects and also give them a break from school. 

As of September 22, these are the clubs that will be running this year:

Art Club
Badminton Club
Boba Club
Drama Club
Editing Club
Environmental Club
Filipino Club
Gaming Club
Ho’omana 2.0
Interact Club
Mac-Cro-Knit
NHS
Politics Club
Pre-Medical Association
Science Olympiad
Star Wars Club
Surfrider Club
Ukulele Club

CLICK HERE to sign up for clubs.

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