• The Lance

Clubs at LHS: What and Where to join

By Tziah McNair

In a time when it’s easy to feel disconnected and lonely, it is so important that we find ways to build and maintain relationships with our peers. For La Follette, the best way to do that is through clubs.

One of those clubs is Green Club, a space dedicated to climate activism and reform. Though officially led by junior Tilly Bieganek, the club consciously and intentionally refrains from the use of titles in an effort to conserve its “self-governance” approach. Every member has the authority to do things such as assist in organization, plan meetings, facilitate and speak out, which makes it the perfect place if you are looking for a safe community and leadership opportunity. During these meetings, which generally occur every other Thursday during lunch, the team talks through weekly updates, volunteer opportunities and upcoming events. Currently, the main point of interest is endorsing the use of reusable face masks, and helping to distribute them throughout Madison. Smaller projects involve composting and recycling efforts.

For more information about how to join, you can DM @lafollettegreenclub or @tillylahaina on Instagram, or email lafollettegreenclub@gmail.com or tlbieganek@madison.k12.wi.us.

Another club seeking new members is Gender/Sexuality Acceptance, commonly known as GSA. Every Monday at 3:30, students of varying identities have an opportunity to come together and freely share their experiences, ideas, and specifically offer support to students with queer identities. In addition to addressing inclusion questions and playing lighthearted games of Pictionary, GSA actively advocates for issues around gender/sexuality equality. In the past, gender-neutral locker rooms have been a hot topic. Now the club is fighting back against a potential implementation of a policy that would legally require MMSD teachers to ‘out’ transgender students to their parents. GSA is also forming a book club within itself, during which members will be provided a book centered around LGBTQ+ protagonists and/or experiences, and subsequently discuss the content as a collective.

If this interests you, feel free to email Tony Jennaro (awjennaro@madison.k12.wi.us), Kate Schultz (kmschultz@madison.k12.wi.us) or McKenna Howard (mchoward@madison.k12.wi.us). You can also follow GSA’s instagram: @lafollettegsa.

There’s another club based on identity: Black Student Union or informally, BSU. This club was created to provide a space in which Black students could feel comfortable to be their most authentic selves alongside people who look like them. At LHS, it’s no different. “Freshman year, I couldn’t really find a club where I fit in. Coming to high school I didn’t know who I was as a person or my passions. All I knew [identity wise] was that I was Black, so I decided to start there,” testified Jasmine Winson (11). On the opposite end, junior Andrew West was unsure of his Blackness as a biracial male disconnected from the Black side of his family. “I was really whitewashed because I was only exposed to one side of who I am, so I wanted to take advantage of BSU because I believed that everyone else’s experiences could help me understand who I am,” he shared. Now, both students have leadership roles as Secretary and Student Engagement Coordinator, respectively. In meetings, there’s discussion about current events, history, and prevalent issues in Madison paired with possible solutions. Through that, balanced with fun games and activities, BSU has assisted many students in getting in touch with their culture. “It’s a great way to form relationships with people… a group of people that you can rely on,” asserts West. “It’s like family,” says Winston.

To join this family, follow @lafollette.bsu on Instagram, or reach out - via email - to Andrew West (atwest@madison.k12.wi.us) or Mr. Johnnie Milton (jcmilton@madison.k12.wi.us).

While each of these clubs do some volunteer work, nothing compares to Interact, a club specifically meant to provide students with ways to help their community. “We’re constantly telling kids to complete community service but don’t always provide them with an avenue to actually do that, so this club is providing that structure and those ideas on how to give to others,” P.E. teacher and football coach, Scott Swanson said. Propelled by senior Dylan Wendricks and supervised by Coach Swanson, Interact Club is gearing up to start addressing the needs of Madison. “As opposed to doing things that don’t really fill a need, I would hope that we come up with projects and ideas that fill a void that, because of COVID or other things, exists,” Swanson continued. Starting on Tuesday, Oct. 27th at 11:30 a.m., members will begin to elect officers, and then begin their tasks. All it takes to make a difference is “a group of high school kids who see the bigger picture and understand that by them helping out, lots of people will benefit from it.”

If you’d like to join this community to help your community, contact Dylan Wendricks at dnwendricks@madison.k12.wi.us, Coach Swanson at spswanson@madison.k12.wi.us, or follow the official Instagram for Interact: @lafolletteinteractclub.

Believe it or not, the list doesn’t stop here. There are many other groups at LaFollette waiting for you to join. As said by Coach Swanson, “There’s no drawback...Kids are itching to be a part of something and [clubs are] that something they can be a part of.”

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