Arcadia High School Clubs Adapt to the Pandemic
By AUSD Digital Communications Intern Bethany Chow
Kare 4 Kids members and Longley Way Elementary students present their Dinosaur Rocks at the “Dinosaur Valentine Event” (Courtesy of Kare 4 Kids)
School clubs are a major component of the student experience at Arcadia High School (AHS). Many AHS students partake in the annual two-day club fair that introduces every chartered club on campus, meeting information, and how to join. Clubs vary in size, with most clubs having upwards of 20 members. The largest club on campus is home to over 130 members. AHS Clubs also have many different purposes, ranging from learning about food science and taking part in environmental action to practicing poetry and learning about different cultures. Many clubs also host off-campus activities, including volunteering, various workshops, and bonding events.
This year, however, Arcadia High clubs have been forced to move their operations online. Each club has adapted differently to going virtual. Clubs that were mainly activity-based, like the Student Sierra Club, a club that supports learning and interacting with the environment, switched to online versions of their usual activities.
“We planned a virtual scavenger hunt where [club] members were given a list of items and went around their neighborhood taking pictures of those items,” Vice President of the Student Sierra Club Kate Fletcher shared. This online activity replaced the typical club outings like hikes, cleanups, and tree-planting events. Fletcher further explained that this self-led scavenger mission emphasized the club’s values of appreciating and exploring the outside environment.
Hear from more Arcadia High club representatives and student participants about how clubs have worked through the pandemic.
Video by AUSD Digital Communications Intern Angela Ren
As for Arcadia High’s Kare 4 Kids club, “The officers spent more time planning meetings and events,'' Kare 4 Kids Co-President Elise Fong said. This was done to ensure that their over 130 members got the best experience possible. Another byproduct of this meticulous planning was that the club was able to plan its own events at Arcadia Unified’s elementary schools. For example, at Longley Way Elementary, Kare 4 Kids led a “Dinosaur Valentine'' activity, helping elementary students make dinosaur-themed rocks on Valentine’s Day.
The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), a club that teaches about the best practices in business, also switched up their in-person activities to better fit online meetings. Originally an in-person presentation, FBLA’s Shark Tank activity was turned into a pre-recorded presentation to avoid any mishaps from spotty internet connections.
But how do Arcadia High virtual club meetings and events compare with their in-person counterparts of the year’s past?
“The sense of community and connecting with others was hard to replace,” Fletcher reflected. As with the myriad of other school activities, virtual clubs have been hard-pressed to replicate the same interactions that an in-person club can facilitate. Some clubs like FBLA have tried to increase club interactions by encouraging members—especially new ones—to use the chat function of virtual meeting platforms, such as Google Meet, if they are uncomfortable speaking in front of everyone.
Still, going virtual has several upsides. Kare 4 Kids has found it much easier to take attendance during meetings since Google Meets automatically records it for them. Similarly, the Student Sierra Club has found it much easier to accommodate the number of people that come to their meetings. Since they regularly had around forty attendees, their former classroom never had enough seats for everyone. Now, the virtual setting allows for an unlimited amount of people to participate from the comfort of their homes. FBLA President Margaret Lin also noted that her club had an overall increase in attendance from previous years because most members did not have to wait in a line for lunch or walk far distances to get to the club.
“Clubs are sometimes lonely because everyone has their mics muted,” Arcadia High junior Flora Huang admitted. Several club members have observed the various differences between virtual and in-person clubs. Huang also acknowledged that “clubs are not as lively and communicative as they were in previous years,” but that “clubs are still welcome places where [she] can spend time with people with similar interests.” Freshman Sophia Li also likes that clubs give her “something new to look forward to every week.”
As students face the ambiguity of the future with ever-changing pandemic restrictions, it appears that Arcadia High clubs will continue to keep their place as welcoming environments for students to temporarily escape their stress and form bonds with fellow students over common interests. For more information about Arcadia High Clubs and student organizations, visit bit.ly/arcadiahighclubs.