The beginning of Barstow’s fall semester saw the return of the annual club fair, though not conducted in the typical fashion. Using Flipgrid, a video-based discussion platform, Barstow students were able to browse videos detailing all the clubs available to them. Among those were several completely new clubs, offering students an expanded range of extra-curricular activities, despite the struggles caused by the pandemic.
COVID-19 has drastically changed life at Barstow with the adoption of the new hybrid schooling format. In an effort to assist students who are unable to attend school in-person, Drake Taylor (‘22) started the Online Learning Club. According to Drake, Online Learning Club’s goal is to provide a forum for students to share “tips and tricks” to make online learning easier and “talk about solutions to help improve part of the Barstow community.” The club mainly consists of a group chat that allows members both online and in-person to share advice at any time and from anywhere.
This semester, Lahna Groden of the class of 2023 founded the Amnesty International Club, a student organization whose goal is to support and raise awareness about Amnesty International’s human rights campaigns. When asked about why she decided to form the club, Lahna said, “Looking, over the summer, at how I was able to stay safe during the pandemic, I know it required so many resources… and I was worried, you know, about people who don’t have that support, and how they manage to stay safe.” Having heard about Amnesty International and how it addresses many such issues and supports school groups, she founded the club as a way to help out. Currently, Amnesty International Club is working on a fundraiser to gain resources for the club itself and to support the Amnesty International organization. In addition to raising these funds, Lahna hopes that the club will be able to draw attention to the injustices and issues that Amnesty International faces and to connect the Barstow community to the larger world.
Dylan Markey, class of 2024, is bringing a little extra music to Barstow by founding the Garage Band Club. “It’s just really interested me to be able to get with people and just have fun and jam out to some awesome songs,” Dylan has said in regard to his reasons for starting the club. Meetings, he explained, usually consist of members of the club discussing a song and the plans for that day, and then spend the remainder of the time simply playing the song. Students who are interested in the club but are attending school online can still participate by recording their parts in songs to be compiled into a final rendition. In addition to playing covers, Dylan hopes that the club can write an original song by the end of the semester.
In an effort to educate Barstow students about fiscal management and investment, Raj Fanaswala (‘24) has revived Barstow’s Stock Club, a club his older brother Taha ran during his time at Barstow. In addition to learning about investing and the stock market, Raj has described how, “In a typical club meeting, everyone will come up with one company, a stock to sort of prospect, to see if it’s worth buying, and try and predict how it will do.” The club also plans to have a competition to see who among the members can prove to be the shrewdest investor and make the most money.
As the 2020-2021 school year gets off to an unusual start, the new clubs being offered are sure to provide the connection and engagement students need to get through these trying times.