By Hallie Gordon
One great way for all Byram Hills students to get involved is through clubs. From the astronomy club to economic club to the fighting cancer club there is a club to fulfill every student’s interests. In previous years, clubs typically met after school, a time many students looked forward to. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, clubs are required to meet online this year. Two of Byram’s clubs and its members have worked hard to adapt to doing club activities virtually and finding ways to create their club communities.
Junior Arielle Goldman, a member of the Youth Against Cancer club states, “I was really looking forward to the Make Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. I had a great time at the walk last year, so I was upset when I found out it could not happen this year. Still, our team was able to raise lots of money for this amazing organization, and I still felt that I was having an impact on fighting cancer.”Arielle also noted that she prefers meeting for The Oracle and Youth Against Cancer in person rather than online. She felt that at the after school meetings, she felt more part of a community.
Teacher supervisors of Youth Against Cancer Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Hubbs believe that the club has been able to run successfully despite moving online. Mr. Hubbs even feels “that some of the technical elements of online learning have helped us to organize and streamline our efforts, as well as giving us more flexibility in terms of meeting times.” Mr. Hubbs points out one of the reasons being online is so great: there are so many different useful features. Not being able to have different events such as bake sales only has pushed them and the club’s leaders to be even more creative. He explains, “…right now in lieu of bake sales we have committees that are spearheading a series of instructional videos that will help students create their own culinary delights. In addition, we hope to revive our informational cancer symposium but now in a virtual environment that may be more audience-friendly.” The challenges of 2020 have definitely not stopped Youth Against Cancer from doing the outstanding work we’ve come to expect!
Youth Against Cancer is one of the many clubs that have had to make adjustments. The Oracle has continuously worked hard to capture the school and local news. Sports Editor of The Oracle Bobby Ziff explains how the shift to online has impacted him. He states, “I think The Oracle is able to achieve the same goal while being online because we are able to communicate well through the classroom and organized google meets.” He also explained that editors usually communicated with their readers online in the past so the only component that changed was the in-school meetings. Still, Bobby wishes that he was able to have more face to face interactions with his writers.
Sophomore writers for The Oracle Remi Matza and Aliza Hammond enthusiastically explained all of the great things the club has done this year. Remi claims, “While COVID-19 has had a negative impact on so many aspects of our lives, I think it is very important to find the light in things. Although The Oracle moving online has been difficult, it has encouraged members in the club to take initiative and work with great effort to continue going forward with our work.” Aliza highlights some of the changes The Oracle has made this year. Writers can use breakout rooms to meet with their editors, the editors have provided mini-lessons on writing techniques and even created a new newsletter. Both Remi and Aliza highlighted how well The Oracle has adapted to online challenges to improve writing and collaboration.
As Remi Matza said, “We have learned to adjust to any obstacles in our way and find the positive side of them.” Clubs making the best of the online situation is just one example of finding the light in what appears to be a tough situation and emerging even stronger!