Clubs, activities weather changes

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Due to the new schedule eliminating tenth band and mandatory after school enrichment for teachers, some after school activities have been altered, but many have found creative ways to continue on into the new school year.

Jazz band class has been moved from tenth to zero band, creating both positive and negative changes in how the class is run.

Jazz band instructor Peter Lustig said he’d been nervous about the time change but admits that the class has been running smoothly. However, he believes that there are cons to the change.

“My impulse was that it was going to be terrible, but it’s fine,” he said. “I miss how after tenth band students would stay, hang out and jam, but now they can’t because they have to get to class. However, now they’ve been coming earlier to practice, as early as 7am.”

He’s disappointed that the jazz band can no longer make recordings for concerts in the auditorium, which is full of students during zero band.

Junior and jazz band member Sarriyah Hanif also has mixed feelings on the change. She likes how there is more opportunity to do other leisure activities after school and that more students are showing up to practice during zero band than they did during tenth band. However, she misses the stress free atmosphere of tenth band jazz.

“It was honestly more exciting after school because people would stick around and just hang out, but now everyone is hustling to get back to class and it’s kind of exhausting,” she said.  “Jazz was definitely a nice release after a long day of school, but many people never used to show up and it really affected our grades. It might just take time, but jazz isn’t the same zero band.”

During the first week of school, there had also been confusion over which clubs would be running this year.

Prior to the schedule change teachers had to either tutor or advise a club after school. Now after school activities are voluntary.

The change left certain clubs without advisors,  so a memo was sent to teachers asking which clubs, if any, they would advise.

On September 17, Coordinator of Student Activities Aleeza Widman and Club Liaison, junior Karen Su, emailed an official list of clubs that would be running.

One big change was the merging of Amnesty International and Free the Children into one club, International Love, due to the advisor of Free the Children being unable to stay for enrichment. Both have the common goals of helping others on

Karen Su working on the JSA board for the club fair.  Photo by Suswana Chowdhury
Karen Su working on the JSA board for the club fair.
Photo by Suswana Chowdhury

an international level, so the merging is compatible. International Love will be advised by Robert Babstock.

“Although it will be a challenge, our clubs will coexist and merge in both events and fundraising,” said International Love co-president, senior Leanna Narain. “We will also have more members that will contribute to our club and help us in our fight to essentially reform the society we live in. Both club leaders plan on using our time efficiently and using the advantage of more members to get things done.”

Although the student body has been under the impression that clubs were dying out because teachers no longer wanted to stay to advise them, Ms. Widman notes that this is a misconception. She says that club activities are “in good shape” and feels that they were largely unaffected by the schedule change.

“To be honest, I don’t think there are any clubs that won’t run,” she said. “Around forty clubs for a school with 1100 kids is pretty good. We have a good mix of things.”

While certain clubs had trouble finding advisors she adds that teachers have been gracious about staying for enrichment.

“Teachers are advising clubs because they want to. Everybody’s doing it on a voluntary basis,” she said.

Karen feels that the situation was handled in the best possible way, expressing thanks to the teachers for their cooperation.

“I highly suggest that we move away from the negative light shed upon this situation,” she said. “Instead we should focus on the positive aspects such as more quality in clubs, and a bright future for student involvement and school spirit here at Townsend Harris.”