Clubs: A worthwhile high school experience
What does the day of the average high school student look like? A day full of classes, sports practice, perhaps a few hours of work here and there. It seems almost counterintuitive to add more to one's daily schedule. Despite the limited time restrictions and ever growing list of obligations that come with young adulthood, clubs can be a significant investment in a teen's community and future.
The goal of finding a club (or clubs) to devote oneself to often comes down to considering interests and gauging how much commitment is needed from each club. Most clubs fall into four categories: interests and hobbies; athletics; academics; and service activities.
The clubs with the most dedicated members become examples of near-symbiotic partnerships: The students puts effort into the club, and the club provides students with a chance to develop skills.
Key Club, arguably one of the most successful organizations at Live Oak High School, serves as a remarkable model of the aforementioned type of club. As the high school version of Kiwanis International, Key Club gives students opportunities to learn leadership skills and to serve the community.
Maryann Rader, coordinator since the current incarnation of the club's inception seven years ago, said, "Our success largely comes from the dedication of our students. It's a student-run club, and they decide the direction the club takes. This can often make or break a club."
Awards like "Increased Membership" and "Most Improved Club," from Key Club International's California-Nevada-Hawaii district, are indicative of the LOHS Key Club's success. Being in a club with such recognition comes with benefits aside from the rewards and accolades.
Rader said, "It looks great on resumes and college applications. It gives members chances to lead the club or an event and helps them with social and public speaking skills."
It seems obvious that clubs will tout accomplishments to attract potential members; however, the positive effects are genuinely reflected in a club's members.
Saman Khan, 17, is currently a senior at LOHS and has been a part of groups like Key Club since her freshman year. "Clubs give you a way to do new and exciting things, like traveling to conventions or visiting college campuses. They have kept me involved and focused," Saman said.
Other students have voiced similar sentiments about club involvement. Sophomore Jamie Pham, 15, described her experiences in clubs: "In some clubs that focus on college, you're able to visit campuses. You get a feel for the campus and even what major you may want to pursue."
While discussing clubs, sophomore Joy Pham, 15, said, "They are definitely an important part of the high school experience. They help the student, the school and the community."
Whether high school students are in their final year of high school or just getting started, becoming club members has proved to be a wholly meaningful way to enrich themselves and others.
"Clubs fit into one of the purposes of high school: to prepare a student for life with skills and experience," Rader said.
Ciria Salazar is a senior at Live Oak High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.