By Liora Reiken
Starting a club at White Plains High School is definitely an experience, but it is a journey worth taking. The first question you have to ask yourself is, “What club is needed at White Plains High School?” This includes thinking of hobbies that you and your peers will enjoy and issues that you are passionate about. If you have an idea and are not sure if others would enjoy your club, ask your friends and classmates. After all, they will be the ones attending club meetings.
After you come up with a topic for your club, look at the clubs already offered at the school and make sure that there is not already a club in existence for your topic. If you are not sure what one of the clubs is, ask a teacher, or go to a club meeting, to see if they are already doing what you wanted to do in your club meetings.
After coming up with a topic for your club and making sure there is not already a club like it, you need to do some research. What would you do in this club? How would it be beneficial to high school students? What are the goals in creating this club? For help with answering these question, think about why you wanted to make this club in the first place? Why are you so passionate about this issue or hobby? Why do you think other people should be just as passionate? Just wanting to start this club shows that you are very passionate about this interest, but it can be hard to put it down on paper. Try talking to a friend or relative about why you want to start this club and have them take notes. These notes will help you in answering some of the above questions.
Once you have goals and implementation of these goals set, you can start the process of actually getting this club started. The first person you have to sit down with is Mr. Vitiello, head of Student Activities at White Plains High School. Send an email to Mr. V telling him that you would like to start a club at WPHS and set up a meeting with him to discuss further steps. Once you talk to Mr. V about the club, he will most likely give you further ideas on how to make this club the best possible and tell you to fill out a form to start a cub. If your club is very complicated, he might tell you that it is not possible to have this club at WPHS. Do not let this make you give up on your club!! You are clearly passionate about this club and there is always a way to make it possible. Go home, do some more research on how to make this club possible at the High School, and then meet with Mr. V again.
Once you are given the club form, you should be able to fill out most of it from the questions you answered before. The next step is to get ten of your friends to sign the form, saying that they are interested in being a club member. This does not mean that they have to be a club member; it just means that they like the idea of this club forming. Go to your friend group at lunch, peers in your classes, and peers in other clubs you are in and ask them to sign it. Ten signatures sounds like a lot, but with over two thousand students in the school, it really should not be that difficult.
The final step of the form is getting a teacher advisor. For me, this was the most challenging part. Teachers are very busy, and many of them hold review during lunch. The biggest suggestion I can give is to not be afraid to ask. A teacher may say no to you, but that is okay. If all of the teachers you have had in high school tell you that they are busy during lunch, do not give up. This is the final stretch and you should not give up on a club you are so passionate about just because it is difficult to find a teacher that will assist you. Try asking your friends if they can think of teachers that would be willing to be your advisor, or ask teachers that are club advisors of other clubs that you are in.
Once you have a teacher, all you have to do is convince your peers in the GO that your club would be beneficial to White Plains High School. Do not stress out about this. After this long process, if you were not passionate about this club in the beginning, you will be now, and that is all you have to show at the GO meeting. The GO will most likely vote yes on your club and then you can begin the fun part: club meetings! This may seem like a tedious process, but I am telling you, it is totally worth it and very rewarding to see a club that you worked so hard on creating meeting every week and making a difference in your high school community. My last piece of advice is good luck! I believe in you and you should believe in yourself!