Club leaders reflect on unconventional year of activities

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Photo courtesy Raymond Yu

Members of the Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) club attended meetings during lunch prior to the pandemic.

As the school year gets closer to ending and students busy themselves with AP testing, clubs have begun to wind down their activities. This has left club leaders to reflect on their achievements as student organizations, particularly following an unconventional year of virtual meetings and events.

I am really proud of our Mock Trial team this year. There were definitely challenges with communication at the beginning, but I am really proud of how dedicated everyone was and the way that we overcame our issues and moved forward. I could not have asked for a better team”

— Tina Nejand

One club that had to transform its activities this year was Mock Trial. Under normal circumstances, the Mock Trial team would compete against other schools in real courtrooms and meet weekly to prepare for trials. This entire process had to be transferred into the virtual format this year and while this did alter the Mock Trial experience for club members, the group was able to successfully adjust to the new environment. “I am really proud of our Mock Trial team this year. There were definitely challenges with communication at the beginning, but I am really proud of how dedicated everyone was and the way that we overcame our issues and moved forward. I could not have asked for a better team,” senior president Tina Nejand said.

The Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) club experienced success this year by transitioning its traditional focus on in-person fundraisers to virtual information sessions for group members. “My club has hosted numerous virtual presentations on the history, geography, culture and policies in North Korea. We decided to create many informational presentations to educate Wootton students about North Korea’s humanitarian crisis,” senior president Raymond Yu said.

Splanning stayed committed to organizing school events this year, despite the virtual format. Events like Puttin’ on the Hits (POTH) and Thursday Night Live (TNL) were transitioned online, while others were provided in-person with safety precautions in place. “We’ve had fundraisers, virtual events, and some in-person events as more people have gotten vaccinated and restrictions have lifted, like Senior Sunrise and Unity Day. We tried to make [POTH] as similar to in-person POTH as possible. Our committee filmed skits as we would normally, except we had to consider that everything had to be done outside and with masks on,” senior member Valerie Zhao said.

Splanning was not just able to keep events like POTH and TNL alive, but also to take advantage of holding these events virtually. This aspect of these events were incorporated into the production process. “I think the virtual format wasn’t too bad though because everyone could redo their dances [for POTH] to get the best take, and for an event like TNL, people could perform acts that wouldn’t have worked traditionally,” Zhao said.

While online learning made this school year a difficult one to continue clubs like theater, the Drama Club made it work. The group has continued to have regular meetings virtually and have also hosted guest speakers via Zoom. “The only difference is that the meetings were virtual, and all of our events were virtual. For example, we normally would’ve had a field trip to New York City, but this year there was a virtual festival instead. With other activities, we just adjusted them for a virtual setting. We’d have guest speakers join Zooms and only chose activities that would work virtually,” theater tech president Zhao said.