Extra, Extra! (Curriculars)

Adjoa Mante, Staff Writer

“What do you want? What are you looking for in an ideal application?” I found myself begging of the Brown admissions officer at the recent College Fair. Extracurriculars. They want extracurriculars. (Well-known fact: colleges’ wants are unlimited, but why worry right now?)

Whether the student will fulfill this expectation because he or she is willing to sell their kidneys and grandmother to get into college – or because most of these activities turn out to be rewarding – is beside the point. Most students do something in the eight or so waking hours outside of school that is not homework.

Near the end of every September, RAM day offers itself as an opportunity for clubs to net freshmen. RAM day is excellent at introducing clubs, but it also poses the problem of how to face demanding emails from the nth club with reminders of dates and practices. A large number of students who added themselves to email lists did so to get cookies. We Harriton students are so frequently drilled about the importance of extracurricular activities that some students will do absolutely anything to get the right clubs onto their applications.

However, in the process of struggling to pick the right clubs and make colleges see one’s versatility, enjoyment in an activity is often thrust out of the picture. Students join clubs on RAM day, get multiple emails, show up a few times, and are done with the club. Those who maintain this disinterested approach lose all of the enjoyment and fulfillment that comes with being involved with something he or she actually cares about besides schoolwork.

The Harriton Banner spoke with leaders of activities from Philosophy Club to Stage Crew to learn more about what Harriton’s clubs can offer than a few sentences on an application.

Jack Fenton, leader of Jared’s Box, spoke of the importance of his service club, saying, “Jared’s Box is a really fun club that takes very little time and makes a huge impact! Meeting for only 15 minutes 4 times every year, the members of Jared’s Box pack boxes full of toys for children at CHOP living with terminally ill cancer. These boxes are then delivered to the hospital and distributed to the children.”

“Philosophy club is the place where students from all social realms at Harriton converge to discuss their philosophies about issues and ideas that raise questions. It’s really just a place where students can come to open their minds and think,” from Arielle Herman, president, who encourages inquisitive students to join her Philosophy Club. “I’ve spoken to many individuals who feel that the discussions Philosophy Club fosters really challenge their preexisting biases and cause them to consider the views of others. If you like to think and you don’t have a problem with cookies, then you’ll find yourself right at home in Philosophy Club.”

If you’re more into labor for a good cause, Jordan Rosenthal-Kay, head of Tech Crew for HTC emphasized the importance of creativity and hands-on action in Stage Crew. “There is a great satisfaction to building great things. The wonderful bit about building for theater is that the suspension of belief on the stage allows you to create ingenious marvels. Stage Crew is responsible for this great deed. Drills, Nails, Paint and Plywood are our tools of the trade, and with them, theater can come to life. Stage Crew is Building, Problem Solving, and Wonder. Tech Crew deals with the logistics of a theater production and is far more modest and way less romanticized than Stage Crew. Long live the czar!”

“Olympiad is a full experience that lasts all year, not just during competition season, and I’m glad to be back into the swing of it. It’s always exciting to see the team start doing what they do best.” This from Alex Settle, co-captain of Science Olympiad

Niki Green, co-captain of Science Club, reminisces, “I remember my first Science Club show. If you had suggested even one day earlier that I would ever feel intimidated by a room full of second graders, I would have laughed at you. But there I was, next up to bat, and I felt forty small eyes staring at me. Waiting to be impressed. …And boy, were they impressed.” Breaking herself out of her reverie, she states,“There is nothing quite like feeling of knowing you have just converted a room of twenty bored elementary school kids into scientists. Here in Science Club, we get to do that many times throughout the year. With demonstrations ranging from creating flamethrowers and hovercrafts to ice cream from the extremely cold substance called liquid nitrogen, Science Club is easily one of the most fun and rewarding clubs at Harriton.”

Jackie Sayoc, leader of Harriton’s Asian Cultures Club, enjoys leading a club that allows a broader understanding of cultures and has a relaxed and comfortable climate. “Being culturally diverse is never a bad thing; in Asian Cultures Club we get to do that with such fun people and eat. It really doesn’t get better than that. Eating delicious foreign food and playing games with fun people is never a waste of time. Asians are basically everywhere…hiding in the shadows as martial arts ninjas, inside your calculator doing equations, mass producing everything you know and love and providing the world with delicious food.”

The enthusiasm these leaders have in their own clubs is something we all can achieve if we get involved in the things we are passionate about. However, this small sample leaves out the voices of many other important clubs at Harriton. If we were to interview all of Harriton’s clubs, the enthusiasm of some participants and diversity of interests would be overwhelming. Go forth and discover!