Extracurriculars offer advantages for students

Extracurriculars offer advantages for students

Freshman Courtney Hemmelgarn and her brother, senior Austin Hemmelgarn, paint pumpkins during an Art Club meeting in October.

High school is often a time of self-discovery and finding one’s place in the world. But as many high school students know, fitting in is easier said than done. Fairmont High School offers about 30 clubs, extracurricular opportunities and special classes that give a place for students to discover their abilities and skills, along with who they truly are as a person.

Opportunities vary from clubs revolving around foreign languages and personal hobbies to social clubs and student-started clubs. A few of these clubs include French Club, Spanish Club, German Club, Latin Club, Philosophy Club, Growing Peace Club, Art Club, WKET-FM Radio and Video Production Club and Anime Club.

It’s never too late in the year to consider joining a club. To join a club, advisers recommend students listen to announcements and go to the organizational meetings that take place before or after school. When students decide they want to join a club, they will often have to fill out a sign-up form and turn it in to the club adviser.

Why join a club?

Spanish teacher and Spanish Club Adviser Amy Dunaway-Haney believes students should join a club because of the social benefits. “Everyone makes a lot of friends and you have so much fun in a club,” she said.

Sophomore Austin Sands agrees with Haney. “Being in a club is good because not only is it fun, but we can sit back, relax and watch movies.”

In addition to the social aspect, Activities Director Jenny Borchers feels that being in a club definitely helps students in the long run. “Research shows that students involved in at least one club have a better chance of graduating, getting a high GPA and going to a four-year college,” said Borchers.

A well-known club at Fairmont High School is Spanish Club. This club is known for going to several events and hosting many after-school activities. “We do all types of things, like Zumba after school, international nights, conversation hours, going on a field trip to Young’s Dairy and many others. We even have a volleyball game where we try to beat the French Club,” said Haney.

Another well-known extracurricular activity available at Fairmont is the WKET-FM Radio and Video Production Club. In this group, students learn several things, such as how to create entertainment for viewers and how radio stations work. During this learning experience, students are running the radio station as well. This activity’s adviser is Laura Hutchens, and WKET-FM or 98.3, is on air Monday thru Friday from 3:15 p.m to 7:15 p.m.

Students can start clubs, too

The Fairmont staff has created many of the organizations and clubs. But sometimes a student may feel there’s a club that should exist that’s not already in existence. So, how can a student start a club?

Fairmont Principal Dan Von Handorf feels it’s simple for a student to start his or her own club. “All a student needs to do is get at least 15 other students interested in being in this future club,” he said. “Then, collect these other students and find a faculty member who’s willing to be the adviser of the club.”

An example of a long-term, student-started club at Fairmont is Anime Club. This club has been at Fairmont for five years and the club’s adviser is Bill Buirley. In Anime Club, students watch Anime and play a variety of games, including Anime games. Students even discuss their favorite topics on anything, which does not have to involve Anime.

A new student-started club that’s been introduced to Fairmont this year is the Geo-Caching Club. This club was started by a group of students, including senior Rebecca Riffle.

“The Geo-Caching Club is like a treasure hunt,” said Science teacher Rick Kappel, the adviser of the club. “There’s a website where students put up coordinates in Kettering and leave special treasures at these places. Other students, then download these coordinates to their GPS.”

When students then find a designated place on their GPS, they write their name and the date that they found the area on the tablet that will be at the spot. Or, if there is a special treasure at the coordinates, a student can take this item and leave one of their own.

“A few good things students will get out of the Geo-Caching Club is learning how to use a GPS, making new friends and being involved in a extracurricular activity that will look good on a college resume,” said Kappel.

Reviving Growing Peace

One club that left Fairmont and then returned is The Growing Peace Club. When Von Handorf, Borchers and Social Studies teacher Jessica Kelly went to a diversity training last year, they decided the club should be brought back to Fairmont.

“This club is all about increasing tolerance of those who may be different than you and trying to decrease bullying as well,” said Kelly.

If early indications are accurate, Growing Peace looks like it may become a rather large and active club. Kelly, who advises the club, said about 52 students attended had attended one of the first organizational meetings in October. “It seems to be ‘growing’ each day, though,” she said. 

Kelly feels it’s a great idea that Fairmont brought back The Growing Peace Club because in this club, there are actual goals students are trying to reach and it leaves a positive impact on the students. The club currently is planning a Diversity Day for all students, teachers, principals and counselors in the library on Dec. 3.

Music and sports opportunities abound, too

Besides the individual clubs at Fairmont, departments within the school also offer a variety of different activities to students. The Music Department, for instance, offers a wide variety of ensembles and activities to audition for, and naturally the Athletic Department offers many sports.

Orchestra Director Rich Wright says participating in any of the musical ensembles “gives students the opportunity to be a skilled and accomplished player while playing with other skilled and accomplished players at the same time. You learn to have an appreciation for music and have a better understanding for music as well.”

Borchers believes Fairmont is truly famous for the activites it offers. “I have never seen such a wide variety of clubs at any other high school than what Fairmont has,” she said. “We are lenient on letting students find their own advisers for clubs they want to create and we allow new clubs to form.”

Each club at Fairmont has its own purpose, goals and activities. But what should be included in all clubs? “A good club consists of not so much a lot of members,” said Kappel, “but overall, members that are involved.”