Service, social, cultural and academic clubs offer students a place to connect

The Amateur Art, Plastic Pollution Cleanup and GOTA – Giving Opportunities to Animals – are three of more than 40 student clubs and organizations

Megan Briggs and Cady Chan, sophomore members of the Plastic Pollution Cleanup Club, help the environment at an Oct. 24 cleanup at Concord Community Park.

Courtesy of Plastic Pollution Cleanup Club

Megan Briggs and Cady Chan, sophomore members of the Plastic Pollution Cleanup Club, help the environment at an Oct. 24 cleanup at Concord Community Park.

Vincent Tanforan, Staff Writer

For better or for worse, the 2020 school year is shaping up to be a year like no other. The implementation of distance learning has made interacting with peers difficult. 

After being stuck at home for the past seven months of quarantine, many students long for the simple social interaction of going to school every day. This is especially true for this year’s freshman class, who have been plunged into the confusing world of high school completely virtually. 

In the absence of physical school, one way Northgate is prioritizing social involvement is through a vast array of clubs. Dozens of academic, service and social clubs, many new to the school, are going online this year, giving students a welcome chance to unwind from academics and connect with others. 

“It’s a break from all of the school work. You do not need much commitment, and it’s a great way to meet new people while creating art,” remarked Madison Chua, who created the Amateur Art Club. 

The club plans to host a number of art challenges and contests. In fact, last month they participated in the popular Inktober challenge, which tasks artists with drawing something new for every day of October.

Chua has been pursuing her interest in art for years. “I’ve always been fond of art, but 6th grade was when I really began to take it seriously,” she added. She and co-founder Chloe Mannion, both sophomores, are sharing their artistic passion with others. 

The Amateur Art Club is a laid-back space for anyone interested in art to grow their skills and learn from other artists. 

“I couldn’t fit an art class in my schedule this year, so I thought it would be fun to start an art club to meet new people who share the same interests as me,” Chua said.

Another new club where students can expand their knowledge is the Plastic Pollution Cleanup Club. Its goal is to inform people of the harm plastic pollution is causing the environment, and to offer positive solutions to combat this pressing issue.

Club president Megan Briggs, a sophomore,  was inspired to make this club after reading up on the danger pollution poses to the Earth.

 “I have been interested in the topic of plastic pollution for years now….this year I have been able to study plastic pollution and have become fascinated in how our environment is being damaged by something people have done,” Briggs said.

Members of the Plastic Pollution Cleanup Club hope to organize cleanup days at nearby parks and beaches. Here, students have the opportunity to make a change in their community, and to help with a serious problem facing the environment.

Giving Opportunities to Animals, or GOTA for short, is another club allowing Northgate students to make a positive impact on the world. Led by Rebekah Hwang, the group is working to help pets get adopted and saved from harmful kill shelters which euthanize these animals.

Hwang explained her objective in starting the club to give animals a new shot at life. “We will be mainly using social media and other ways to help a pet get adopted. We will also be doing multiple other activities such as making toys and informational posters,” stated Hwang, a senior and the club’s president.

However, the devastating coronavirus pandemic affecting the country has thrown a wrench in some of the plans for club events this year. Without the ability to meet in-person, orchestrating a club entirely online can be problematic. 

Briggs, who is leading the Plastic Pollution Club, offered some insight into what it’s like organizing a club right now. 

“The pandemic has definitely changed how we can run this club. We need to make sure that everyone will be social distancing during this time, which makes organizing volunteer days much harder. Other than that, this club will be able to run smoothly during this pandemic,” she concluded with a note of optimism.

It is a chaotic time to be alive. With the anxiety surrounding the upcoming election, global pandemic, rampant fires, and ongoing civil unrest, it seems as though each new day brings with it a new calamity. All over the world, everyone is looking for a respite from the unease in their lives, and what better way to do so than in the company of friends?

For more information on clubs and organizations including contacts and meeting dates and times, go to the grade level Google Classroom or the Resources tab of the Northgate website.