New clubs approved and added to school’s extracurricular database

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In mid-April, the Student Union (SU) announced that the Pacific Islander Club, the THHS Girl Up club, the Chinese Culture Club, Bollywood Dance Team, the International Relations and Linguistics Club (IRL), Women In Business Club, and the Slavic Club will be joining the variety of club selections students have to choose from.

Junior Hanna Kurdziel, co-president of the Slavic Club, said she was excited to hear the announcement that the club would be joining the school’s extracurricular database. “I believe that this opportunity gives [the other co-presidents and I] the opportunity to reach out to anyone and everyone interested in learning more about our beautiful culture,” she said. “We noticed there was a large Eastern European population at Townsend Harris, though there was no explicit place for Slavic students to gather and discuss their cultural experiences, celebrate holidays and observe traditions, or connect with other members of the community. With so much of the student body being of Slavic descent (or interested in Slavic traditions), we felt it would be beneficial to try to create one.”

The Bollywood Dance Team joined the Slavic Club as another addition to the school cultural extracurricular roster. “We hope to provide students with an escape to enjoy themselves freely and not be bound to a world of darkness,” said sophomore and treasurer Amanda Nakhul. “As for inclusivity, this club is not limited to South Asians and we encourage those with different backgrounds to join and enjoy and express themselves. Our team genuinely values teamwork as we want it to be a second home where students can collaborate with each other, make new friends, and have a good time.”

THHS is also restarting its chapter of Girl Up, a global organization that strives to empower adolescent girls in their leadership and professional development journey through campaigning and “special programming.” President Isabella Sam said that seeing the chapter fade away after her freshman year was her motivation for restarting the club. She also said that she hoped the club would help “spread awareness about career fields that have an alarming lack of women and how [one] can close the gender gap in those specific fields.”

President of the IRL club, junior Eliza Josephson, said she created her club to expose THHS students to “cross-cultural communication and international discourse through the lens of linguistics and global current events.” After all, “We’re a humanities school, and our namesake, Townsend Harris, was an ambassador to Japan. We’ll be delving into diplomacy to keep his legacy alive,” she said. The club intends to invite guest speakers and prepare their members for the North American Computational Linguistics Open (NACLO), a “branch of the linguistics olympiad.”

The Pacific Islander Club, run by sophomore club founders Devin Wu and Gian Syki, was created to “shine a light on such an underrepresented group in our community.” Gian said that it was important for the cultural club to be “as the AAPI community is under threat, and facing discrimination throughout the country.” While the club is only in its infancy stage, he and Devin hope that as the club grows, a leadership board will be constructed. “There is definitely a sense of achievement between us, as we have been brainstorming ideas for our club ever since last year. We put in a lot of effort during the club application process, so to finally be put on the official extracurricular database, definitely instills a sense of pride between us,” they said.

“With such a competitive selection process this year, I am honored to be among such an amazing group of new clubs,” Eliza said.