Clubs meet virtually due to COVID

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Many Homestead students are engaging in clubs virtually this year due to COVID.

Coronavirus prevention measures have brought many changes to school this fall, including the decision for various clubs to kick off the year over Zoom.

Numerous clubs, including Debate, Environmental Club, AYUDA, DECA, Film Club, Battle of the Books, SEM Club, and Math Tutoring Club, along with others, have chosen to start meetings virtually. This decision provides clubs with the opportunity to connect with students who may not feel safe leaving their home.

Mary MacCudden, English teacher and head coach of Debate, values that returning students can still experience Debate and new members have the opportunity to join. “Already this year we have competed in tournaments all over the country from the comfort of our homes. While I do hope we eventually find a sense of normalcy in our debate structure, I do appreciate the accessibility of competition through a virtual setting,” MacCudden said.

Similarly, AYUDA has chosen to meet over Zoom. The club is finding new ways to achieve their mission of assisting underprivileged Hispanic communities, such as establishing a food drive.

Elena Dummann, senior and vice president of AYUDA, feels that there have been some obstacles for the club, but is confident that it will evolve to fit the needs of others during such unprecedented times. “In the past, AYUDA has worked with La Causa, a Spanish speaking charter school in the city, to tutor students in the after school program. Unfortunately, with Covid-19, we aren’t able to, but we are still looking for alternative ways we can help the school,” Dummann said.

Allison Lauber de Garza, Spanish teacher and AYUDA advisor, shares Dummann’s hopes for the club this year.

Lauber de Garza believes that if everyone puts in effort and participates, AYUDA can achieve its goals. “So much is lost when everything happens in front of a screen, especially one that displays a name or a picture rather than a video of an actual human being. We have to find the positives within the challenges, being grateful for programs that allow us all to talk with one another and see each other’s work over a screen in real time,” Lauber de Garza said.

Battle of the Books chose to start off on a digital format as well. Advisor Suzanne Zellmann, research and digital learning specialist, is appreciative of this new format.

“Virtual meetings provide us with a unique opportunity. Distance or quarantined learners have the flexibility to join from their home locations, and on campus students are welcome to join the meetings from their homes or Tartan time locations before their first class,” Zellmann said.

Environmental Club is a new club this year, advised by Melissa Blahnik, social studies teacher. Chloe Bento Monteiro, junior and Environmental Club founder, anticipates that the club will provide students with an opportunity to come together and achieve goals.

Bento Monteiro believes that it is important for students to participate in clubs this year. “Being in a club is a huge part of the Homestead community, and it is a unique situation right now, as we are feeling isolated. This will give everyone a good sense of community… [especially] underclassmen to become better acquainted with the school and meet new people,” Bento Monteiro said.

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