Time to join a club at LAHS

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By John Pawlak

It has become somewhat of a tradition for me to write about LAHS clubs before the start of each new school year. Clubs, or “extracurricular activities”, offer a wide spectrum of benefits for the students.
 Ah, but first a brief digression. When I looked up synonyms for ‘extracurricular’, I got the following list: cheating, immoral, fast and loose, illicit, and two-faced.
 Hey, how was I supposed to know that one of the definitions of ‘extracurricular’ was “extramarital”? It does put a whole new spin on extracurricular activities at the High School, doesn’t it?
Well, back to the other definition. Joining a club is a great way to meet people and make new friends. Making friends with common interests can form bonds that can last a lifetime.
And there are many other benefits to be enjoyed by joining a club (or two). Students can learn leadership skills. They learn the importance of teamwork and community service. The provide wonderful experiences and add yet another dimension on the academic landscape of school.
But most importantly — they’re fun! What better reason than that to join?
Yeah, yeah, I know. Your children are having so much fun in math class that they don’t have time to think about joining a club.
(Hey, give me a break. A math teacher can dream, can’t he?)
So, what club might your child be interested in?
Some clubs build a float for the homecoming parade.
Some work with animal shelters, run fund raisers, and promote social awareness.
There’s the Yearbook Club. The Robotics Club. The NJROTC Club. We even have a Hip Hop Club.
The spectrum of options your child has to choose from is as diverse as our student population.
Whether it’s spending time playing chess, practicing the art of debate, watching obscure foreign films, learning sign language, or riding horses, there is a special feeling one gets by the act of belonging.
The Language Department offers clubs for Spanish, French, and German. What better way to appreciate our own language and culture than by learning its roots?
Even those with two left feet might enjoy shaking a leg in the Ballroom Dancing Club. Who would have thought formal dance could be so much fun (and it is!).
Perhaps your child wants to get a little more physical? Join those who like to run. Or play lacrosse. Or torture themselves with cross-country. There is a virtual warehouse of options for the sports-minded individual.
Got music on the brain? Consider joining the Choir. Or the Band or the Ensemble! There’s some fantastic talent out there. (Note: I’m not in that talent pool)
Put on your tool belt and join the Auto Club! Join the Key Club (part of the Kiwanis family of service-leadership programs) and work on community events! Sharpen your pencils and let those creative juices flow in the Creative Writing Club.
The Gay-Straight Alliance Club promotes an atmosphere in which diversity is celebrated and where all students can feel accepted and valued, and organizes the school-wide Diversity Week.
 Natural Helpers is a peer-to-peer program that creates an informal network of young people to provide a place in which students can turn to friends for support and advice.
Clubs, clubs, and more clubs! LAHS has a club for every possible interest. If your child is a sucker for big eyes, pointy chins, and little teeny noses, we even have the Anime Club for them. Some of those graphic novels are amazing reads.
And if no club piques your child’s particular interest, the counselors can help them form a new club.
Find a sponsor (teacher) and enough students with the same interest, and voila! You have a club!
Of course, I have to put in a plug for my club this year, the Friends of Rachel Club. We will be addressing the issue of bullying in the high school and working to raise awareness within the student population on how to embrace diversity and help make our high school bully free! It’ll be both fun and educational.
So encourage your child to investigate the clubs at LAHS this year. Who says high school can’t be fun?