The Lack of Club Activity at Edmond North

The Lack of Club Activity at Edmond North

Through 2020 and continuing into 2021, students attending Edmond North were unable to explore and mold themselves into a club due to the Covid-19 protocols that were, and are currently, in place.  At the beginning of a normal school year, the Edmond North student body had the opportunity to participate in club day, a particular day where students were allowed to roam the halls and learn about the clubs that caught their interest.  Tables would be aligned down the walls and sign-up sheets were waiting to be filled with names.  However, students overcrowding the hallways while trying to maintain six feet apart would be nearly impossible.  While students are unable to commit themselves to a social activity, it poses a question of whether the lack of clubs could be affecting school spirit and student mental health.  

Jennifer Butler, the Anime Club sponsor at Edmond North, shared her thoughts on the lack of inclusivity this school year.

As the sponsor to Anime club, it has been hard on the students not to have in-person contact and have the opportunity to watch anime as a group. We were able to combat that by having Canvas discussions and playing games on our Google Meets on Wednesday to keep our members interested,” Butler expressed.

Being an integral part of the high school experience, clubs offer a place for those seeking new friendships and exposure to common interests among peers.  Clubs unique way to unify students despite differences in views and status can enhance school appreciation; yet when stripped away, students and fellow peers are left feeling ostracized and lost, unable to find their voice amongst the other thousands of students.  

Due to the unprecedented pandemic that struck the world at the beginning of 2020, schools integrated into online courses, leaving students at home and away from social interactions.  The inability to converse with like-minded peers caused a detrimental effect on student mental health and motivation.  This year alone, 13 percent of students across the country reported having at least one major depressive episode during the 2020 school year.  Yet, how does that pertain to club inactivity?

At Edmond North, club events that merged all students, such as BALTO and Sun Club occasions, provided excitement and activities that many could participate in; however, high school students can no longer obtain that school spirit felt before COVID-19 struck.  While school should offer acceptance and the fusion of the melting pots of distinct demographics and personalities, it seemed that this year heavily lacked that appreciated sensation.  

I hope that we are able to meet altogether without masks, but towards the end of the year this year, we are able to meet one Wednesday a month (socially distanced) to watch anime together at the school. Next year, I hope that we have minimum Covid requirements so that we can really participate in BALTO week. I could live with what we have this year, but our club would flourish if we were able to go to pre-Covid life,” Butler proclaimed.

Club inactivity in schools, specifically Edmond North, is affecting the student body to a great extent.  Clubs are celebrated pursuits that Huskies pride themselves on.  Without clubs and belonging, students are plummeting into misery as social needs are not being fulfilled.  Even though the reasons for social distancing and the safety of others are justifiable; however, one must also look into the mental wellness of students and their need for a community.