Clubs and organizations carry on virtually during pandemic

April 27, 2021

By Jessica Cerrito
Staff Writer

COVID-19 has forced people everywhere to adapt and change their normal lifestyles. This includes all of LHS’ clubs and organizations. While it may not be easy, the high school has made an ongoing effort to keep clubs active and give students extracurricular opportunities to forge connections with their classmates.

Almost all of LHS’ clubs have resorted to hosting club meetings through Zoom and communicating via Google Classroom.

President of the Environmental Club senior Faiza Chowdhury said in addition to Zoom meetings, the club has worked on collaborative projects using the online tool Padlet where members shared environmental hopes and predictions. The club also sent virtual Valentine’s Day cards to children at St. Jude’s Hospital based on a suggestion made by social media manager senior Jessenia Lugo.

“While I would love to be planting flowers or doing town clean-ups with the club again, I’m also grateful that these virtual projects have given members opportunities to have their opinions and ideas shine more individually,” Chowdhury said.

Many of the Environmental Club’s traditional fundraisers and activities have had to be adapted to a virtual format such as the Environmentally Friendly Basket Raffle. Nonetheless, Chowdhury said she remains hopeful and optimistic.

“Without giving away too many details, this year’s basket raffle will still feature tools to be environmentally friendly while working virtually,” Chowdhury said. “As springtime and good weather as well as more vaccinations come, I’m also really excited to start doing town clean-ups again with social distancing, masks and other safety precautions.”

Chowdhury is also a member of the World Language Honor Society, which has also had to adjust to a virtual setting.

“Almost every club has managed to face the challenge of staying virtual really well, but one that pops into mind is the World Language Honor Society. They’ve had a different service project or fundraiser nearly every month that has been extremely collaborative and engaging while also remaining safe during the pandemic. For example, they’ve sold poinsettias and had a fundraiser through Chipotle that didn’t even require in-person dining,” Chowdhury said.

President of the Animal Welfare Club junior Madison Echols said her organization has adapted well by using Google Classroom, emails and other modes of communication.

“Other clubs are surviving the same way as we are from what I know. Most communicate through email and Google Classroom and using Zoom for their monthly meetings,” Echols said.

“Members still seem to be motivated and interested as they, especially our officers, have been involved in planning our monthly meetings, updating our social media account and trying to brainstorm ideas of some activities and fundraising we can do in the spring.”

The Animal Welfare Club, like many others, has held its own virtual fundraisers and activities. The club advisors and officers also have plans for special events in the future.

“So far, we have had a Christmas fundraiser for the Humane Society of Bergen County where members could pick from their Amazon wishlist or bring needed items to the shelter by appointment,” Echols said. “For a few club meetings now, we have been working on continuing and closing t-shirt sales that we never got to finish last year due to Covid, and a very special little project that mainly involves the officers and advisors.”

Environmental Club advisor Ms. Manzella has kept a positive outlook on the obstacles the club is facing. She said conducting meetings virtually and communicating online are good ways to keep the club going until in-person meetings are possible again.

“Members still seem to be motivated and interested as they, especially our officers, have been involved in planning our monthly meetings, updating our social media account and trying to brainstorm ideas of some activities and fundraising we can do in the spring,” Manzella said.

The Environmental Club has organized a few optional activities such as a zero-waste challenge and is looking forward to more events in the future.

“We are hoping that we will be able to schedule a fundraising event as well as a town cleanup for the spring,” Manzella said. 

Manzella is also co-advisor of the LHS Chapter of the National Honor Society, which requires members to fulfill service requirements through a peer tutoring program. Manzella said these sessions were held in-person but are now completely virtual.

“We have also been trying to promote member participation in volunteer and service activities or projects hosted by other LHS clubs and organizations including the Lending Hands Club and Student Services,” Manzella said.

The National Honor Society was still able to hold an in-person induction ceremony on Nov. 24 with some modifications made to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“Although we could not invite guests to the in-person ceremony, we were able to film the ceremony and have it posted on the Lyndhurst YouTube Channel so it could be viewed by friends and family,” said Manzella.

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