Woodside Clubs During Online Learning

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Claire

Woodside class of 2020’s reminder on their instagram for class board meetings.

Claire Manuel, Local News editor

Woodside High School clubs have started to meet during online learning, mostly using online resources like Zoom and Instagram Live.

Since the start of the online learning school year, Woodside’s clubs have been finding ways to continue to engage students. Four of these clubs are the Junior Class Board, Octagon Club, Best Buddies Club, and Math Club. Many use the platform Zoom and other resources like Instagram live or their clubs’ Instagram accounts to reach out to the student body and continue to meet. Information on these clubs can be found on the Woodside website under “Students.”

Class boards are some of the many clubs that continue to meet. Class Board meetings allow class officers to pass on information, such as the events being put on by leadership and class fundraisers.  If you are interested in attending your class board meetings, you can find more information on the Woodside website or your class’ Instagram account (class accounts are @woodsideclassof2024, @woodsideclassof2023, @woodsideclassof2022, and @woodsideclassof2021). Class Board meetings are currently held on Wednesdays at 12:20. Junior Class Board meetings are being held over Instagram live via their class Instagram account. 

“Basically, we just really had to shift to online,” junior class secretary Adin Hefland explained.  “We initially did Zooms, and then we found out that we could reach more people through Instagram Live.”

The Octagon club, however, has been meeting through Zoom every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. 

“Octagon has figured out a way to set up some Zoom meetings and create different platforms online to fill out membership forms and forms that would usually be in person,” Meera Putz, a Woodside junior and Secretary of Octagon club described. “We’re just trying to do our best to make everything online and accessible for everyone.” 

The Best Buddies Club has also continued to meet through Zoom every other Wednesday (a link to these meetings can be found on the Woodside website). They are also trying to find new ways to meet using online resources.

“We have reached out to club members through email,” Mary Daniher, Woodside sophomore and Best Buddies’ vice president said. “We have also used Google Forms to see what people want to do at meetings and what times work for them. We have been doing activities that you can do online like Kahoot.”

The Math Club continues to meet using Zoom on Thursdays during lunch (a Zoom link can be found on the Woodside website and their Instagram account @whs__math).

“Our first round of competition is coming up soon: Math Madness, a team contest,” Woodside senior and Math Club vice president Grace Jau explained. “We’ll be continuing the same activities and hopefully even bringing in new things. Because of online learning, we might have new tools. I guess we just need to keep meeting and talking about math and … spreading the love of math.”

This is trash picked up by the Octagon club during a clean up. (Barbra Keller)

Putz found that using an online format for club meetings, such as the Octagon Club, made it much harder to interact with club members.

“The hardest part… about transferring everything online is being able to engage everyone and also being able to communicate with each other,” Putz said. “It’s hard to coordinate with each other because we’re not going to get to see people in person and interact in person.”

The Best Buddies Club has also found it more difficult to contact their former members and the student body.

“I think it’s harder to communicate and to reach people when people have questions about the club or joining the meetings,” Daniher explained.

The Junior Class Board officers noticed a drop in attendance online meetings are harder to attend than in-person ones.

“Well, some of the challenges were definitely getting the word out about our meetings,” Hefland said. “When we had school in person, everyone knew that they were in the E-9. So we had a lot of dramatic loss in attendance.”

To combat this problem, the Octagon Club has been using the announcements and the teachers who run their club to spread the word about club meetings.

“I think the main way we’ve been able to get people to come to our meetings is through the teachers that organize our clubs,” Putz expressed. “They’re informing their own students.” 

While the Junior Class Board meetings may have some problems, they have found that there are also benefits to the online format. 

“[The meetings are] a lot shorter than they usually are because a lot of the issues that we had with physical meetings, like getting the class to quiet down so we could actually get some of the information across [is much less of an issue],” Hefland described. “I mean, there’s really not that much to talk about either, so we’re just trying to keep students involved in the school and let them know about upcoming events.”

An activity sheet from math club. (Grace Jau )

The Math Club has also found some benefits of switching to an online format because of the new resources they have access to.

“Overall, we’ve actually had a pretty good time with moving online,” Jau said. “Actually, It’s funny because a lot of our competitions like Math Madness and California Mathletes… moved online, and they’ve also started providing more online resources. So actually, we almost have more than we did before.”

The Best Buddies Club has found that, while some technological problems have occurred during their meetings, they have overall been a success.

“We’ve had two meetings so far, I think, and it’s been a little hard because sometimes people have audio or video issues,” Daniher said. “But so far it’s been pretty good.”

As for what’s in store, the Junior Class Officers are planning on getting students more involved through fundraisers for prom, events, and virtual activities.

“Basically, we’re just trying to get people more involved in the school,” Hefland said.  “We’ve been kind of letting people adjust and acclimate to school, but I think we’re going to start trying to work on some fundraising and events in the near future.”

The Best Buddies Club currently does not have concrete future plans, as they first want to see how online learning works out.

“I think we’re seeing how it goes,” Daniher said. “I don’t think we have a set plan yet on how to proceed.”

Jau encourages others to join the Math Club and to not be worried or overwhelmed by it. 

“It kind of sounds intimidating, but we promise we don’t bite,” Jau said. “We’re all really welcoming and really happy to have new members, and nothing bad ever really comes out of trying competition math; it’s just a different kind of problem-solving. It’s more creative… I think it’s a really fun way to learn about new perspectives and connect with other students.”

Daniher explains why the student body should join the Best Buddies Club.

Octagon club volunteering last October at Spooktacular. (Octagon club)

“I would say it is a great experience because you get to make friendships and support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Daniher said.

Despite distance learning, Octagon Club wants to encourage the student body to help their community through volunteering.

“Our club just wants to be able to recruit people who… [are] interested in community service, whether that is distance learning in the future, or whether it’s going to be in-person again,” Putz said. “We just want to make sure that we create a super fun environment for people to learn about going out and volunteering in their community and making a difference.”