Captivating Students’ Interests with Clubs
By Alyssa Cocchiola, staff writer
November 2020 – Instead of completing projects and writing papers, students participating in clubs are able to learn new skills and enrich their learning experiences in ways they are passionate about. Whether it’s through volunteering, participating in competitions, exploring future career opportunities, or a form of self expression, Bio-Med Science Academy’s 14 clubs allow students to learn new things while exploring their interests.
“My favorite part of Science Olympiad is all of the exciting knowledge we get to learn as well as our team’s atmosphere. We don’t always do well in competitions, but we always have fun doing it! We have a good bond and lots of inside jokes!” commented Kelsea Cooper, who is a junior in the club.
Science Olympiad is a competition-based club that focuses on displaying knowledge of scientific concepts through competitive events. The club itself is supervised by Ms. Mino and Ms. Varner and meets on Wednesdays in room 3005 (or on Zoom). Anyone from grades 7-12 are able to participate.The events students are able to compete in are based on their division, with one division for high school students, and the other for middle school students.
Due to COVID-19, the club is not going to any official competitions this school year. Instead, they are dedicating this year to developing their skills and preparing for the competitions in the 2021-2022 school year. However, despite not being any competitions, students still seem to enjoy the educational environment of the club. More information regarding the Science Olympiad can be found on their website https://www.soinc.org/.
Quiz Bowl is a trivia-based competition club that competes against other schools in tournaments and is advised by Ms. Hisey. There are no tournaments this year, so the club is dedicated to practicing for future tournaments and building on those skills. Tryouts are not being held this year due to this circumstance, and practices are held Tuesdays after school in room 405. An interest form was sent out recently, and some aspects of the club are still being figured out.
Esports is run by Mr. Wolfe and Mr. Ettinger. Anyone from ages 13+ in grades 7-12 are able to participate in the esports Ohio League. There are two leagues: the high school esports league (HSEL) and the middle school esports league (MESL). Games that are offered are Fortnite, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, Smash Bros Ultimate, and VALORANT.
The club itself meets from 3:20-4:00 every other Friday via Zoom. In order to participate, students must have at least approaching mastery in each class, be able to play and practice once a week, and participate in matches.
Tyler Williard, a member of the esports team, said, “There are large-ish fees that you’ll have to pay to participate, but it’s really fun!” In order to participate in esports, students are required to pay a membership fee of $25. The fees go towards equipment and materials, as well as fundraising. Additionally, students participating in the HSEL are expected to pay $40 per season, while students in the MSEL pay $20 per season.
Relay for Life
Relay for Life is a club run by Mrs. Rickel and Mrs. Aronhalt that helps fundraise money for the American Cancer Society. Because of COVID, they are not doing days of relay and instead are primarily focusing on fundraising.
The club itself meets every other Tuesday after lunch B on the learning staircase. Anyone from grades 7-12th are able to participate!
Cyber Patriots is a team-based competition where students work in small groups to try and solve problems and secure virtual computers and networks. Students are given four different situations, and specific instructions in order to secure a computer and make it difficult for outside users to receive information.
“I really enjoy the environment that we created and the actual content itself,” says Irene Scherer, a Freshman in the club.
The club is still participating in competitions, and most things about the club are similar to last year. When being asked about how the club is running this year, Keira Vasbinder responded, “We really don’t have set meetings and the competitions are held almost the exact same time as last year. I personally prefer not having any meetings but this may be more difficult for those who are new who want to join.”
For some students, joining the club has had a very positive influence on their learning experience. Tessa Wood, another 10th grade student commented that “Thanks to this club, I am seriously considering cyber security as a career option. Clubs can help students make connections and learn more about themselves,”
Competition information for this event can be found at https://www.uscyberpatriot.org/.
Future Farmers of America
Future Farmers of America (FFA) is run by Ms. Sass and Mrs. Aiken. The club’s main focus is to provide students with enhanced knowledge in agricultural education by participating in events that build leadership skills and in community projects.
In order to participate, students must pay a membership fee of $25. The club itself meets on Tuesdays in room 306 from 3:15-4:00. For students attending school virtually that week, Zoom meetings are also available.
Anyone in grades 7-12 is eligible to participate. Due to COVID restrictions, the school will not be competing in any FFA competitions. Because of this, the club is focusing on preparation for future competitions.
Health Occupation Students of America, or HOSA, is a career-technical student organization that helps students interested in health care learn leadership skills and helps them make realistic career choices in the healthcare field. The club is supervised by Ms. Fusco and Ms. Bradley. HOSA consists of 6 categories for competition: Health Science Events, Health Professional Events, Emergency Preparedness Events, Leadership Events, Teamwork Events, and Recognition Events.
Any students in grades 9-12 are eligible to participate in the club, regardless if they are completing school virtually or in the hybrid model. Meeting days and times for in-person and virtual meetings are still being decided, and will be determined at a later date.
For the club, students have to pay a fee of $25. Students in the club are participating in the Fall Leadership Conference for Ohio Hosa, which will be held virtually. The conference is available though the 21st of December. More information about HOSA can be found on their website.
Drone Racing is a club that focuses on building and racing a drone, and is supervised by Mr. O’Mara. Any student from grades 7-12 is eligible to participate in the club, with separate divisions for high school and middle school divisions. The club meets every Tuesday in the engineering lab in room 3006 at 3:30. Students are able to compete in teams of six people, so there can be multiple teams from one school.
For competitions, students construct a small drone and design, model, and print a frame for it. Along with this, the teams also have to create a display board, interview with judges, and complete in race and capture the flag events.
When being asked about robotics, Mr. O’Mara described what the different events were like: “In Capture the Flag, two team pilots work together against two opposing team pilots to “capture” pylons by hovering over them for about five seconds. This is harder than it sounds as the drones are difficult to control in a hover; and the camera does not allow the pilot to see directly beneath the drone. In Head-to-Head, one pilot races against another team for both a timed score and an overall lap score. Three laps must be completed that consist of flying through gates and around flags in a predetermined course, while viewing the flight through the drone’s camera.”
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, many safety precautions are being taken, like assigning equipment instead of sharing. Along with this, virtual competitions are also behind held using a simulator called Velocidrone.
The YSU Book Club and Creative Writing Club
The Bio-Med Literary Center (formerly The Creative Commons) sponsors both the YSU Book Club and Creative Writing club, with Mrs. Mihalik as the advisory of both.
The YSU Book Club welcomes anyone from 7-12th grade. Students participating in the club meet in room 3016 every Monday. Students in 7-9 meet at 12:30, while grades 10-12 meet at 11:50. The club focuses on reading books for the YSU English Festival.
The books for the YSU English Festival this year for students in grades 10-12 are Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science by Bridget Heos, Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram, and March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell.
For students in grades 7-9, students are reading Between the Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science by Bridget Heos, We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson eds, March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla, and Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson.
The Creative Writing Club is based on National Novel Writing Month, or as it is commonly referred to, NaNoWriMo. The club meets every Tuesday in room 3016. Students in grades 7-12 are encouraged to join. Much like the YSU Book Club, different grade levels have different times they show up. Students in grades 7-9 meet at 12:30, while students in grade 10-12 meet at 11:50. The club’s goal for the year is to reach 50,000 words!
National Honors Society (NHS) is supervised by Ms. Hammond. Unlike other clubs, students are inducted into the club based on their grades. The club meets twice per month, with one meeting being used to plan events, and the other to volunteer.
To be eligible to apply to the NHS chapter, students have to be either sophomore or junior and have High Performing in all of their core classes, and be at least proficient in elective courses.
Ms. Hammond, the advisor of the club offered insight on being inducted to NHS, “One must act in a fashion that conforms with one’s position, and with the reputation that one has earned. Being inducted into National Honor Society is a privilege. It is an opportunity for students to challenge themselves and continue to develop their characters, service skills, leadership skills, and scholarship. It is not only a privilege for students to be members of NHS, but it is also a duty to continue to uphold the pillars and be models for their peers. Those pillars include: scholarship, service, leadership and character.”
The NHS motto is “noblesse oblige,”which can be translated to “whoever claims to be noble must conduct himself nobly.”
“I love everything we do in this club. While it can be taxing at times, it is always great to see what we can accomplish as a group. I have served in the council all four years of my high school career and I wouldn’t have it any other way!” says Cedric Sarfo, the student council president.
Student Council is supervised by Ms. Varner and Ms. Brook. The club helps make decisions in our school, like planning spirit week, fundraisers, and dances. Student Council also allows students to let their ideas be shared about what happens with our school and meets in the morning on Wednesdays from 7:50-8:25 either on zoom or in the classroom. Any students from grades 9-12 are able to join this club. In order to be a part of it, members are selected after completing an application.
Despite the impacts of COVID-19, the council is still finding ways to continue to run and plan things for our community.
“This year has obviously been a bit different due to the current circumstances we find ourselves in. With most things now, our meetings are mostly on zoom. However, students who are participating in the Hybrid style of learning this year can meet in person following the COVID-19 guidelines. Outside of that change our operations have been virtually the same. We continue to try and find ways to engage the student body irrespective of the current conditions,” Cedric concludes.
Skills USA is an organization that provides competitions for students to help them develop career skills and look for future opportunities and is supervised by Ms. Hughes and Ms. Hill. Anyone in grades 7-12 are able to participate in the club, and there is a registration fee of $25. The first meeting was held on Nov. 20th from 1:05-1:40 in the cafeteria.
The Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) is supervised by Mr. Ullinger. In the past, the club would offer a safe space to talk about things going on in students’ lives. With the impact of COVID, the club is planning on sending out an interest form to see how it can run this year. Concerns about providing a safe space for students at home, who may not want to talk about personal topics in front of family members are also being taken into consideration.