High school clubs get students involved

One key to surviving high school is to make friends. One way to make friends is to get involved.

Reno High vice principal Tasha Fuson is in charge of activities at the school. She says clubs help students focus and find friends.

Reno High vice principal Tasha Fuson is in charge of activities at the school. She says clubs help students focus and find friends.

Photo By Heather Anderson

Your friends are your lifeline. Not like a lifeline on that former national obsession, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? but more like a lifeline when you’ve fallen off a crab boat on that dangerous-jobs show.

Face it. For the lucky ones, school is your job now, and those gleaming halls can be as rough as frigid waters on the high seas. The only way you’re going to survive is if you can gather a crew to get you through the rough waters.

If you’re a sophomore or higher, the chances are you’ve made a few friends, but who ever has enough pals? If you’re a transfering student or a freshman, you might be feeling a bit vulnerable and lonely. High school is a time to explore many aspects of your personality. You may have likes and dislikes you don’t even know about—you may have some you feel very strongly about.

Clubs may be the answer for some students. Sure, sports exist for the competitive types. And then there are the social knots that hang out by the fence, but if you’re interested in exploring that unknown you, you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone. And if you’ve already got a passion, you might as well take it to the limit.

Take a look at Damonte High School’s list of clubs and activities for an example of activities available to students at that high school:

Academic Olympics, Art Club, Asian Club, Auto Club, Band, Black Student Union, Broadcasting/Media, Change is One, Choir, Cheerleading, Children in Transition, Christian Club, Drama/Thespian Club, Environmental Club, Film Club, Forever Against Drugs, Friends Of Rachel, Gay/Straight Alliance, Hispanic Culture Club, Indoor Rock Climbing Club, Jazz Band, Junior Honor Society, Key Club, Math Counts, Mock Trial, National Honor Society, Newspaper, Outdoor/Adventure Club, Partners in Education, Ping Pong Club, ROTC, Scholarship, Snowboarding Club, Speech and Debate, Strings, Student Leadership, Student Store, Tap Club, VICA, Volleyball Club (Boys), We The People Club, Woman’s Athletic Club, World Language Club, Writer’s Block Club, Yearbook.

The mind reels.

Reno High School is another school with an extremely active clubs scene. Tasha Fuson, Reno High vice principal in charge of activities and discipline, says that clubs can help students find friends, develop leadership skills and achieve academic focus. At that school, it’s all about getting students engaged and participating.

“We publish an activity brochure that shows all the clubs and activities we have on campus” to make students aware of the club offerings, Fuson said. “We also have a club fair in September during lunch. Each of the clubs sets up a booth and tries to attract students who might be interested in their club.”

And then there’s fundraising. The clubs often cooperate in fundraising efforts, so groups that may have little in common—the Halo Club and the Cheerleaders or the Japanese Anime Club and the Christians—occasionally work together. That helps to develop new friendships and leadership skills. While fundraising efforts often fall back on car washes, there are other opportunities to partner up with local businesses, like Applebee’s nights.

“A student can start any kind of club they want,” said Fuson. “The first thing is they have to find a teacher who’s willing to be an advisor. Once they secure a teacher, we have an application that they fill out, and on the application they have to get at least 10 other students who show an interest in wanting to be in the club. The application is given to my office. From there it goes to our student body president, and it’s actually approved by our student council. They have to do a club charter, an overview of the purpose. When I say we have an open forum, it has to have an educational tie, obviously—we’re a school.

“We have a very, very active student body. I’d say at least 80 percent of our kids are involved in extracurricular activities, whether it be sports or a club. We’d like to get 100 percent of our kids, but right now we’re going pretty strong.”

If you’re interested in high school survival, you may consider joining a club or forming your own. If you can get your mates on board the Truckee River Boating Club, you and your friends may be able to sail through high school’s choppy waters.