Westminster sees record year in new club creations

Since the its founding in 1951, Westminster has developed a tradition of attracting ambitious students eager to serve the community, explore the arts, consider various career paths, and learn about foreign cultures. Today, the club experience at Westminster allows these engaging students to immerse themselves in an immeasurable range of interests stretching from scuba diving to competitive mathematics.

“The wide range of club choices allows everyone to participate in their different hobbies from many aspects of their lives, and it’s a great chance for me to learn about new, interesting things, so I’m probably a part of at least ten different clubs,” said junior Kate Carson.

While most students participate in clubs, some students go beyond and organize their own clubs. These new clubs promote the expression of specific ideals that are important to students but are not usually included in everyday upper school life.

“The process of creating a new club is actually pretty easy,” said dean of girls Tiffany Boozer. “You just have to really envision what you want, come up with a mission statement, get a faculty advisor, and register.”

Some of the new clubs this school year include: BookCats, BizCats, Spirit Club, Music Service Club, Play Unified, Sisterhood of Steel, Around the World Club, Art Heals Club, Astronomy Club, ATL Vibha Youth, Climbing Club, Fashion Club, Improv Club, Sketchbook Club, Outdoor Sports Club, Jr. Investors Club, and more.

The BookCats club promotes and encourages reading for pleasure as they explore different genres, styles, and themes of books and meet to connect and share their literary experiences.

“I hope BookCats will get more people to pick up books, especially genres that they may not be familiar with,” said co-leader of BookCats Addie Anderson. “I also think that it will get people more involved to help people who don’t have the ample resources that we are provided with in our amazing library at Westminster.”

The co-leaders, juniors Anderson and Elizabeth Carter, were inspired to create this book club as they felt the need to share the amazing feeling of bonding over a common book .

“Our goal is to spread the love of reading throughout the upper school and the community outside of the Westminster and to give everyone the opportunity to pick up a book and discuss it with the community,” said Anderson.

To reach this goal, the leaders of BookCats and the upper school have focused on optimizing the accessibility of books. For instance, while there are very few, for every book not held by the library, the school is willing to purchase the book and reserve it a spot on a shelf instead of one of the members having to buy it themselves. They also hope to be able to spread the love of books outside of the Westminster community by donating books to charity organizations and other events.

Play Unified is another club that was founded this year that is based off of the Special Olympics. This organization is dedicated to breaking down the barriers and stereotypes between people with and without intellectual disabilities through competitive experiences. In order to fulfill this mission, the Play Unified club at Westminster coordinates activities and games for children with disabilities through partnering with local organizations such as the Atlanta Public Schools and Gigi’s Playhouse as they encourage, support, and play with the children.  Through this experience that the club shares, the leaders hope to cultivate friendship and understanding between children and people with and without intellectual disabilities.

The leaders of these clubs hope to provide and sponsor deeper exploration and knowledge of these subjects as they help, change, and learn about the vast world outside of Westminster.

“I really want club to be about service and going to serve others and spread love and show the kids that even though they have certain disabilities, they can still play sports and do arts and crafts and that they are still just as important and able as other kids,” said co-leader of the Play Unified club Ellie Jackson.

Although most students are enthusiastic and willing to start and join clubs during the beginning part of the school year, as the year progresses, the number of students willing to participate in the clubs diminishes:

“As the year progressing, keeping a club going gets tougher. Sometimes it’s a club that you advertise and there are ten-thousand people who want to join and then sometimes it may be that you are just hitting a rough year and everyone is super busy and just doesn’t have time,” said Boozer.  “But if you have students who are enthusiastic and want to keep meeting, coming together, and talking about their topic, the clubs usually just take off.”

Hence, while the sheer number of new clubs at Westminster this year may impress momentarily, the true measure of achievement in this domain will be whether these clubs can survive the challenges that a progressing school year poses.