Clubs in the Age of Coronavirus

Blythe Wallick '21, Staff Writer

Although only less than a single month has passed since the first day of school all of the way back in September, a lot has changed here at Wilmington Friends School. Masks are now mandated within the building and during sports, the schedule looks very different with new, longer, 10 minute breaks in between each class, and a new 30-minute ‘M-block’ every day for advisory time, or other gatherings such as Meeting for Worship. 

One thing that has not changed, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, is the student body’s passion for various clubs and committees. Although it is clear that some typical WFS activities, such as bake sales, powder-puff football games, or visiting locations in our community to provide service, obviously cannot occur in today’s climate, students are nonetheless determined to make the most of the school year in regards to their respective clubs. Instead of hosting meetings at lunch, many clubs are now choosing to move their meeting times from the previously coveted 12:45 spot to a new 30-minute space during the brand new M-block. Some clubs are choosing to meet solely virtually, while others are choosing to meet outside on weather permitting days. Some clubs are yet to find a method of meeting that works best for them and their needs. From change of faculty, to change in schedule, to change in health code, this year has definitely been an unprecedented challenge for clerks of clubs at Wilmington Friends School. 

The Women’s Affinity club, which relies heavily on discussion-based interaction from the female student body to be successful, have faced a new set of hurdles to overcome. “Clerking Women’s Affinity this year has certainly been a different experience from last year,” says Katherine Harron, 21’. “We are trying to find new ways to hold events for our club, but it has been tough. Last year, we had a lot of interactive meetings, where we would collaborate with one another on things like drawings and notes, but that is not an option for us right now. We also had Betsy as a faculty sponsor, and when she left it was difficult to find someone to take that place, but luckily Mrs Kenney was able to step in. I would prefer for us to meet in person, especially because we have so many new members from the freshman class that don’t really know anything about the club, other than what they learned briefly at the club fair.” Harron ended with, “For the moment though, we will have to stick to zoom meetings.” 

The Ski Club, clerked by Sander Katz (21’) and Leah Agne (21’), was founded to group together students passionate about snow sports, and sponsor trips to practice their skills together. Leah Agne, 21’, said, “I was definitely upset by the way covid has been affecting our club. Our club relies on trips, which always take place in winter because of the snow. The CDC is predicting that the winter will be one of the hardest times for covid, so it doesn’t look very likely that we will be able to go on any trips. I was disheartened to hear all of this news. It feels like the work that we put in last year, to make this school year successful, has all gone down the drain. I am confident, though, that one day WFS students will be able to ski without the worries of the pandemic again someday in the future.” 

Ms Miller, Upper School Dean for Student Life, said, “We at least have clubs up and running. That was one of the things that was a MUST for me looking back on our spring and receiving student feedback. I’m trying to make sure (because all clubs are created equal) that all clubs have on-campus meeting times not just virtual. This, of course, means that we have to step away from the Number day schedule, but so far the cub clerks are rolling with it.” Miller also said, “We have 45 active clubs. I think clubs make students happy. We all need some extra happiness right now.”

All in all, clubs have been resilient in these unprecedented times. Of course, there are challenges being faced every day, but WFS student clerks are confident they know how to overcome them. Be on the lookout for messages from club clerks through the messaging system to stay updated on changes throughout the year!