Beyond athletics, there are myriad ways for students to engage with each other in extracurricular activities at Saline High School.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the Saline Area Schools Board of Education learned about a few of Saline High Schools 79 clubs.
Each year, school administration receives applications to form a high school club, Saline High School Principal David Raft said. Raft and Anna Britnell, a Community Education employee who helps manage the clubs at SHS, addressed the board Tuesday.
“Every day, before school and after school, on weeknight and weekends, we have students working within our schools,” Raft said.
The standards aren’t exceedingly difficult. Raft wants to see a proposal that explains the purpose of the club. He wants to see genuine interest and passion. Its purpose shouldn’t be covered by an existing club. And it helps if the club ties into curriculum.
In addition, the club should have an identified adult advisor – preferably a member of the faculty. In the first year, a trial year, the students and advisor create a meeting schedule and work on a constitution.
One of those groups is the Saline Super Smash Bros Club. It’s a club based on the Smash Brothers video games.
“We’re a combination of both the casual and competitive side of the game. We encourage people of all backgrounds to come out,” said Zach Behman, who built the club’s website and builds brackets for tournaments.
With the help of Britnell and Assistant Principal Theresa Stager, they’ve spread the word and grown the club in just a few months. About 70 members show up on a weekly basis to play.
Brock Mayfield said one of the main attributes of the club is that it’s collaborative.
“We’re trying to be bring people together to have fun. The reason why I knew this would work is that I know people love this game and I just wanted to give them a place to play,” Mayfield said.
For a lot of kids, particularly those who haven’t grown up playing athletics, the club provides some important lessons.
“It gives kids an opportunity to learn sportsmanship and deal with conflict,” Behman said. “We also work to enforce positive communication.”
A more traditional student club is SHS Student Council. Freshman Emma Driskell spoke to the board about her experience in the club. She related her experience to the district’s oft-stated goals in its “compass.” Creativity. Collaboration. Critical thinking. And communication.
“Our club spends countless hours creating events, collaborating by using everyone’s creative minds to create exciting events that will make positive changes in our high school,” Driskell told the board. “We use our critical thinking skills to keep things realistic – to determine what really might happen.”
FFA is one of Saline’s oldest clubs, having been around 83 years. Luke Gerlinger, who recently returned from the State FFA convention, addressed the board. FFA was once known as Future Farmers of America. More recently, it’s simply been known as FFA. FFA is focused on developing leadership and career success in the science, business and technology of agriculture. Like the representatives from other groups, Gerlinger spoke about how FFA activities relate to the 4 Cs. Gerlinger said the 64-member strong group is committed to making Saline a better place.
“We work the craft show. We do community service. We do what we can to make Saline a better place,” he said.
Saline UpRoar is a club dedicated to social justice. Brianna Camaro-Sulak and Sabrina Stock spoke to the board about the group. Earlier this year, the group drew more than 100 people to a community reading of I Am Jazz, a book about a young transgender student.
“The impact of UpRoar has been extraordinary. I am both honored to have been leading the club, but more so to have seen people change and become more aware of important topics in our school and community,” Stock said.
“Social justice and social change doesn’t just happen. You have to believe it and work for it,” Camaro-Sulak said.
A new group for fall of 2019 is High Five. Freshmen Grace Munn, Julia Munday and Hailey Malinczak spoke to the board about they will lead. The group works on five principles – one for every digit in a high five: assistance, community, caring, compassion and service. The main focus of the group is to show care for people often ignored. Specifically, they plan to do work in Saline’s assisted living homes.
Board Trustee Dennis Valenti told the students he thought these clubs provided a great service.
“You’re doing a great job drawing people out, bringing them out and engaging them,” Valenti said.
Zach Behman, a member of the Saline Super Smash Club club, agreed.
“I’ve met a lot of cool people I wouldn’t have met without this club,” Behman said.
Britnell is currently working to classify the clubs and see if there are any that are inactive. She’ll also work with the clubs on turnover, so that the clubs don’t suffer when seniors graduate.